Azaleas – Flowers and Foliage.
Distinguished by the flowers, foliage and growth habit, Azalea varieties add colour to both shaded and sunny positions in the garden.
The four main types of azaleas sold in Australia are the two older evergreen types, the Indicas, from China. The Kurumes, from Japan. The third of the Azalea varieties is the ‘Molis’ azalea, a deciduous type.
The new intermediate hybrids are the fourth type. Often sold as Southern Indica hybrids.
Generally speaking the Indicas are larger growing plants with larger flowers and larger leaves. Kurume types are small and more compact, flowers can be either doubles or singles.
The intermediate Azalea hybrids come in two types.
- The large growing types, usually with single flowers
- The medium growing types many with double flowers, some with singles, some with semi doubles.
So which are the best Azalea varieties for your garden ?
- The Indicas do have an advantage in sunny positions, they cope better with more sun. They are taller growing, so take this into account when designing your garden.
- The Kurume type are better in shade, lower growing they are excellent as a border in a position shaded in the afternoon.
- The Mollis types are a different type. They have large flowers and are taller growing. They need good sun to flower, but protection in the afternoon, and they are deciduous.
- Intermediate hybrids, the azalea for all seasons, they are sold as ‘sun tolerant’. This to us does not indicate the ability to handle the very hot summer sun of summer without some problems, however they are fairly good. ‘Alba Magna’ or ‘Alba Magnifica’ is a a popular white flowering type reaching around 1 – 2m in height. Alphonse Anderson is a lavender pink variety.
The smaller growing intermediate varieties include White bouquet, Snow Prince, Rose Queen and Red Wing, you can guess the colors by the names.
Hana No Hibiki has white flowers tinged with red. Kirin is a soft pink, while Ostali is a rather elegant, violet pink, single flowering type.
The popular Encore series are hybrids of Rhododendron oldhamii which is a Taiwanese summer flowering azalea.
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