Girard scarlet azalea is a low-growing, bushy evergreen shrub valued not only for the beauty of the bright red, wavy-edged blooms, but also because the shrub will grow in colder climates than most standard azaleas. The hardy Girard azalea will tolerate winter temperatures down to -5 degrees F. An evergreen shrub, the deep green foliage of Girard scarlet azalea will turn a reddish or copper color in autumn. Although the azalea may drop a few leaves in cold weather, the bright colors of the foliage will usually remain throughout the winter months.
Plant Girard scarlet azalea in well-drained soil free of large stones. Place the azalea in filtered sunlight or where the shrub will be exposed to morning sunlight but protected from sun during the afternoon. The azalea will do best when planted where it will be protected from harsh winds, as strong wind can split the bark and scorch the leaves.
Fertilize Girard scarlet azalea in May, and never fertilize the plant after July 1, as new, tender growth will be more susceptible to freezing weather. Use a fertilizer formulated especially for azaleas and rhododendrons, applied at a rate of 2 lbs. per 100 square feet of planting space.
Spread 2 to 4 inches of mulch such as pine needles, bark mulch or decomposed leaves around the azalea, but don't allow the mulch to pile up against the trunk. Replace the mulch as it decomposes or blows away. Add an extra 2 inches of mulch in autumn to protect the roots during the winter.
Keep the soil evenly moist during the growing season, but avoid watering Girard scarlet azalea during September, as allowing the shrub to dry will help to prepare the roots for winter. Water the azalea after the first hard frost, or around Thanksgiving, so the soil will be moist during the winter months.