Zone 9 on the USDA hardiness zone map is the area of Florida and southernmost Texas. These areas need very heat tolerant plants and the hardiest of azaleas. Azaleas are a great shrub to accent a yard or lawn with its vibrant colors. The best azalea plants for zone 9 are those that thrive in heat, humidity and full sun.
Florida Flame Azalea
The Florida flame azalea (Rhododendron austrinum) is a fragrant shrub good for shade and for attracting butterflies and hummingbirds. It can get 6 to 8 feet tall and 2 feet wide. Flowers are yellow with a red or peach tone, trumpet-shaped, and 1 1/2 to 2 inches long. Oval medium-green leaves are 2 to 5 inches long. The shrub smells like honeysuckle. Flowers come in spring. Grow a Florida flame azalea in part sun or shade with regular watering. Propagate via clump division or by seed.
The Pinxter azalea or piedmont azalea (Rhododendron canescens) is a fragrant shrub good for shady spots, wetlands, and for attracting butterflies. It can get 6 to 15 feet tall and the same in width. Flowers come in spring with fragrant pink flowers 2 to 3 inches long. Leaves are hairy and 1 to 3 inches long. Grow a Pinxter azalea in moist acidic soil in any sun, full sun for a bushier shrub. Propagate via cutting or by clump division
The Chapman's azalea (Rhododendron chapmanii) is an evergreen shrub. It can get 4 to 10 feet tall and 4 to 10 feet wide. Leaves are leathery, dark green, and 1 to 2 inches long. Flowers come in the spring, are funnel shaped, and are rosy pink. Flowers are in clusters and 2 inches in width. Grow a Chapman's azalea in filtered sunlight in moist acidic soil. Propagate via stem cuttings in spring or summer seed sowing.
The pruneleaf azalea (Rhododendron prunifolium) is a deciduous shrub. It will get 10 to 15 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide. Flowers are funnel shaped, 2 inches long, and in clusters. Colors are typically red, pink, or orange. Leaves are hairless and 2 to 4 inches long. Grow a pruneleaf azalea in moist acidic soil with morning sun and afternoon shade. Propagate via semi-ripe cuttings in fall, and by seed or stem cuttings in spring.