What colors are azaleas?

Azaleas belong to the genus Rhododendron, with evergreen azaleas in the subgenus Tsutsusi and deciduous azaleas in the subgenus Pentanthera. Use this website to learn about azaleas–how to select and plant them, their needs and environmental requirements, and about the varieties available.

Some small-leaved rhododendrons look like evergreen azaleas. To tell them apart, first look at a flower—most azaleas have only 5 or 6 stamens, while most rhododendrons have 10 stamens.

‘Bayou’ leaf hairs Then look at a leaf—azalea leaves tend to be thinner, softer and more pointed than rhododendron leaves. Azalea leaves tend to have long straight hairs parallel to the leaf surface, usually along the midrib on the underside of the leaf.
R. augustinii leaf scales Finally, using a magnifying glass, look at the underside of a leaf for tiny round structures called scales. Azalea leaves never have scales, while small-leaved rhododendron leaves are always covered with scales. (The more correct name for small-leaved rhododendrons is “lepidote” rhododendrons, where lepidote means “covered with scales”).

Azalea Variability

Azaleas are either species or hybrids. A species is a population that interbreeds and is reproductively isolated from other populations. Seedlings from such isolated species populations look like the parents, or “grow true from seed”. Hybrids are registered crosses between other species or hybrids. Hybrids will not grow true from seed and may be faithfully reproduced only from cuttings, which are clones of the mother plant.

Azaleas have been hybridized for hundreds of years. Over 10,000 different azalea plants have been registered or named, although far fewer are in the trade. This provides a very wide variety of plant habits, sizes, colors and bloom times to meet almost every landscaping need or personal preference.

North American Species

All North American species azaleas, also called native azaleas, are deciduous (drop their leaves in the fall), with flower colors ranging from white to purple, pink, red, orange and yellow. Evergreen azaleas, native primarily to Japan, have flower colors including white and various shades of purple, pink, red and reddish orange, but not yellow. Color patterns include single colors and bicolors as well as sectors, stripes and flecks. For many azalea varieties, all the flowers on the plant are similar. For other varieties, the flowers on the plant may be a mixture of color variations, with a different mixture from one year to the next.

R. serpyllifolium
‘Satin Robe’
Many azalea varieties have 2 to 3 inch flowers, although the size varies greatly on different varieties. Compare the 1/2 inch flowers on R. serpyllifolium with the 2-1/2 inch flowers on ‘Satin Robe’ and the 4 to 5 inch flowers on ‘Higasa’. ‘Higasa’
There are many different flower types. They may be- single—a small green calyx at the base, 5 (rarely 6) petals, 5 or more stamens and 1 pistil (‘Higasa’, ‘Kobai’). They can be- hose-in-hose—10 to 12 petals, due to the calyx becoming petals (‘Satin Robe’). Some are- double—a variable number of petals, due to some or all of the stamens becoming petals (‘Bob Hill’). A very few are – double hose-in-hose—30 or more petals (‘Balsaminiflorum’). ‘Bob Hill’
‘Balsaminiflorum’

Different varieties also have different petal shapes, ranging from narrow petals (‘Linearifolium’, ‘Koromo Shikibu’) through triangular petals (‘Satin Robe’) to overlapping rounded petals (‘Kobai’). Petal edges may be flat, recurved, wavy or ruffled. ‘Linearifolium’
‘Koromo Shikibu’ ‘Kobai’
‘Don’s Variegated Austrinum’ ‘Serenade’ The length of azalea leaves range from as little as 1/4 inch to more than 6 inches. Deciduous azaleas normally have large leaves. Evergreen azalea leaves are rarely longer than 1 to 2 inches. Leaves of most azaleas are a solid green, but leaves on a few varieties feature white or yellowish mottling (‘Keisetsu’, ‘Don’s Variegated Austrinum’) or edges (‘Silver Sword’). While leaves of most varieties are roughly football-shaped (‘Serenade’), a few are narrow and strap-like (‘Linearifolium’).

Plant Habits

Plant habits of different varieties of azaleas range from stiffly upright (many deciduous varieties), to broad spreading (many evergreen varieties), to irregular. While plant height is around 3 to 6 feet for many varieties, it ranges from under a foot to well over 15 feet for some varieties. A few evergreen varieties (‘Pink Cascade’) are weeping and may be grown as a hanging basket. Many varieties are dense and compact, Others are quite open, and some are almost tree-like.

Blooms

Most azalea varieties bloom in mid-April to mid-May in the mid-Atlantic area of the United States. A few varieties bloom a month or so earlier, and a few varieties bloom as late as August and September. Blooms typically last for one or two weeks. In warm climates such as the deep south of the United States, some azalea varieties bloom again in the fall. This re-blooming trait is being bred into the Encore™ azaleas for reliable fall blooming in colder areas as well.

The ABC’s of Azaleas

Take a look around your neighborhood this spring. If you live in a warmer section of the South, chances are you won’t have to travel very far to spot confectionery clouds of pink, white, red, or lavender blooms surrounding a home.

Evergreen azaleas are not native here, but they’ve been welcomed with open arms since they arrived in the early 1800s. It’s easy to see why the South overflows with these plants. For starters, they’re evergreen, which is always a nice quality. Second, they offer a mind-boggling variety of flower form, color, and size.

Whether you’re contemplating a new landscape plan, adding to your existing garden, or just looking for tips on caring for the azaleas you already have, here are some guidelines offered by Hank Bruno, trails manager at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia. This 14,000-acre garden, nestled in the southernmost foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, could be called the Super Bowl of azaleas. It features hundreds of types of azaleas that can be grown in the Southeast. Hank conducts workshops teaching visitors how to grow them. As it turns out, this is not astrophysics. Actually, growing azaleas is as easy as A-B-C.

A: Begin With Good Design.
“What I’m seeing in the home landscape is a lot of people are not being very judicious in their use of color,” Hank says. “When you’ve got the vibrant colors that azaleas have, I recommend people select different hybrid groups with different bloom times so they aren’t blooming side by side at the same time. Either that or try to harmonize the colors, which is what we’re doing here with our plantings. But what I worry about is that people start clashing colors, and the yard looks like a cacophony instead of a concert.”

If you want to put together a first-rate symphony, a conductor can tell you that you need to group your instruments; scattering everything randomly would not lead to harmonious music. It’s the same with azaleas. Mass plantings of a single color will lend a graceful appearance to your garden. (If you’re into heavy metal music, you might not be afraid of mixing lavender and orange blooms.) Pastels are easier to work with because the colors tend to harmonize well.

Another design strategy that keeps Hank awake at night is alternating red and white azaleas as a foundation planting, especially against a redbrick house. “If you want to use two colors, put them in blocks rather than alternating them,” he says. “We try to encourage a color scheme that appeals to the individual homeowner. We’re not trying to dictate the color; we just try to emphasize a little bit of discretion.”

B: Plant It Right.
If you want your azaleas to enjoy a long and healthy life, you need to give them a good start. “Soil is the key, as with any plant,” Hank says. “They like acid soil with a pH of 5.5 to 6. You have to plant them in well-drained soil with lots of organic matter. Drainage is paramount.”

Hank recommends preparing a raised bed for your azaleas, tilling or forking in aged pine bark, leaf mold, and compost. This is particularly important if your soil has a lot of clay. “Individual holes usually end up acting like sinks in our clay soils, and you pay the price,” he cautions. “You get water held in the bottom of the hole and that sends root rot right on up to the crown.” Once the soil has been properly prepared, add fertilizer before planting. Work in a slow-release variety such as cottonseed meal at the rate of 1 cup per plant. You can also use one specifically formulated for azaleas. Apply at the rate recommended on the label.

When planting azaleas, Hank leaves about 2 inches of the root ball above the ground. He then mounds soil up to (but not on top of) the root ball and finishes up with 2 to 4 inches of mulch to hold in moisture, prevent weeds, and protect the tender new plants from cold. They’ll need a thorough soaking at least once a week for the first year while they get established. They also appreciate highly filtered shade, such as that from tall pine trees, to protect them from the full brunt of the sun’s rays.

C: Maintain Your Azaleas.
Once your azaleas are on their way, they are relatively easy to maintain. “Azaleas are not heavy feeders,” he says. “As they’re sending out those new roots, if they come in direct contact with fertilizer it will burn them.” In spring after the plants have flowered, he adds a slow-release fertilizer such as a 12-5-9.

To keep your azaleas blooming and to maintain their shape, prune them after they’ve finished blooming. “I usually tell folks if you haven’t done it by July 4th, it’s too late,” Hank says. “If you prune later than that, you’re going to lose flowers next year.” The only other time to prune is to remove dead or diseased wood, which can be done anytime. Simply prune back the dead branches until you find green wood. If you suspect a disease, sterilize your pruner blades with rubbing alcohol or a 10% bleach solution between each cut to prevent spreading the disease. The caution is worth the time, because anything you can do to keep your azaleas happy means a few more jubilant blooms hailing springtime in the South.

To see the efforts of Hank Bruno and his garden staff, visit the Callaway Brothers Azalea Bowl at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia. For information call 1-800-225-5292, or visit www.callawaygardens.com.

12 main thypes of Azaleas with photos. Although many people do not realize it, there are over 10,000 types of azaleas and approximately 800 species. Azaleas can be cut and replanted, where the plant will clone itself to make new azaleas, although they can also be grown from seeds.

Although many people do not realize it, there are over 10,000 types of azaleas and approximately 800 species. Azaleas can be cut and replanted, where the plant will clone itself to make new azaleas, although they can also be grown from seeds.

They are beautiful plants and are well-known for their ability to grow almost anywhere. Azaleas also have various blooming times, colors, and sizes, and they can grow in a variety of conditions. Some are most common in the United States; below are descriptions of some of them.

Deciduous/Hybrid Azaleas

Deciduous and hybrid azaleas are broken down into two main categories, as described below.

Aromi Deciduous

These azaleas are characterized by their large size, early bloom time, rich colors, and improved hardiness in the buds. Their types come in many different colors, including:

  1. Amy Dennis: Lemon yellow with red-orange trim
  2. Appalachian Gold: Deep gold in color
  3. April Fanfare: Bright yellow with red-orange tips
  4. April Follies: Bright yellow
  5. April Yellow: Bright yellow with a light red-orange on the tips
  6. Aromi Sunny-Side-Up: Pale to lemon yellow
  7. Aromi Sunrise: Orange to yellow-orange
  8. Aromi Sunstruck: Pale to lemon yellow
  9. Bees Haven: Small white flowers highlighted with light pink
  10. Canary Isles: Large yellow flowers with orange tips
  11. Cayenne Capers: Deep yellow flowers flushed with red
  12. Centerpiece: Light cream color buds opening to white flowers
  13. Clear Creek: Translucent yellow flushed with white
  14. Coral Reef: Light yellow flowers flushed with dark red
  15. Country Cousin: Deep red flowers opening to white flowers flushed with red
  16. Courtship: Large white flowers with red edges
  17. Dancing Rabbit: Bright yellow flowers; fragrant
  18. Decidedly Pink: Large white flowers flushed with dark red
  19. First Love: Large white flowers flushed with red
  20. Flirtation Pink: White flowers flushed with cardinal red
  21. Fool’s Folly: Orange buds that open to bright yellow flowers flushed with light orange
  22. Forty-Niner: Golden flowers flushed with scarlet
  23. Four Kings: Red buds that open to bright yellow flowers flushed with faint red
  24. Four Sisters: Cardinal red buds that open to white flowers flushed with cardinal red
  25. Frontier Gold: Scarlet-orange buds that open to golden flowers shaded in scarlet
  26. Frontier Red: Red-orange flowers flushed with bright red
  27. Gene’s Gold: Creamy gold flowers flushed with rose tips
  28. Glory Be: Many bright yellow flowers; fragrant
  29. Goldrush: Large golden-yellow flowers flushed with red-orange
  30. Gold Strike: Deep yellow flowers
  31. Head’s Up: Light yellow flowers flushed with a faint red
  32. Hearts’ Afire: Large red-orange flowers
  33. High Tide: Ivory flowers with light pink tips
  34. High Times: Bright yellow flowers flushed with red-orange tips
  35. Honey Lamb: Purple-pink flowers
  36. Honeybee Hobnob: Light yellow flowers flushed with bright red
  37. Indian Spring: Light yellow flowers flushed with dark red
  38. Indian Yellow: Large light-yellow flowers shaded with bright red
  39. Jack of Hearts: Red-orange; bloom in June
  40. Jane’s Gold: Cream and yellow flowers with rose tips
  41. Jeanette Ann: White flowers flushed with pink tips
  42. John Giordano: Orange flowers with red-orange tips
  43. Jonquil Yellow: Lemon yellow flower, fragrant
  44. Jubilation: Large light-yellow flowers flushed with orange-red
  45. Julius Kingsley: White flowers flushed with deep red
  46. June Jubilee: Small white flowers; late-blooming
  47. Kevin Patrick: Red buds that open to orange flowers flushed with deep pink
  48. King’s Jester: Large yellow flowers flushed with red
  49. King’s Ransom: Light yellow flowers with red-orange tips
  50. King’s Treasure: Large bright yellow buds open to pure yellow flowers flushed with red-orange
  51. King’s Trumpeter: Dark red buds that open to bright yellow flowers flushed with bright red
  52. King’s Wizard: Bright yellow flowers flushed with bright red
  53. Lacecap: Light pink flowers
  54. Laughing Lion: Light yellow flowers with deep red edges
  55. Lemon Lullaby: Large light-yellow flowers
  56. Lemonade: Large lemon-yellow flowers
  57. Liz Colbert: Brick red buds open to light peach flowers
  58. Marilyn Jeanne: White flowers flushed heavily with deep red
  59. Moon Dreams: Large white flowers
  60. Misty Dawn: White flowers with pink tips
  61. Neon: Deep yellow flowers flushed with red-orange
  62. Old Rose: Damask rose flowers
  63. Orange Cloud: Pure orange flowers, fragrant
  64. Orange Rhyme: Bright orange flowers flushed with bright red
  65. Pale Moon: Large white flowers; fragrant
  66. Pathfinder: Orange buds open to golden flowers
  67. Peach Glow: Red-orange buds open to light yellow flowers flushed with red-orange
  68. Pink Carousel: Scarlet buds open to pale pink flowers
  69. Pink Promise: Very large peach-pink flowers
  70. Pirate’s Booty: Very large deep-yellow flowers flushed heavily with deep red
  71. Pirate’s Pink: Very large cream flowers flushed heavily with bright red
  72. Pretty in Pink: White flowers flushed with deep pink
  73. Queen’s Ivory: Ivory flowers
  74. Queen’s Lace: White flowers flushed with pink
  75. Queen’s Rose: Rose flowers
  76. Radiant Red: Dark red buds that open to many bright-yellow flowers flushed heavily with dark red
  77. Red Chameleon: Scarlet buds open to red flowers that fade to Damask rose
  78. Red Pepper: Red-orange flowers
  79. Red Whisk: Light lemon-yellow flowers with scarlet pistils and stamens
  80. Rose Souffle: Rose flowers; blooms in late June
  81. Smith Pink: Large salmon-colored flowers
  82. Southern Sunset: Bright yellow flowers with red tips
  83. Spanish Main: Deep-red buds open to red-orange flowers flushed with red
  84. Spring Dreams: Large white flowers flushed with deep pink on the tips
  85. Spring Enchantment: Deep salmon flowers
  86. Spring Fandango: Strong yellow flowers flushed heavily with deep rose
  87. Spring Fanfare: Bright yellow petals with red tips
  88. Spring Frolic: Bright yellow flowers lightly flushed with red-orange
  89. Spring Pixie: Medium-sized pink flowers
  90. Spring Sensation: Pastel pink flowers
  91. Spring Snowfall: Large white flowers flushed with light yellow
  92. Spring Song: Large cream flowers with cardinal red tips
  93. Strawberry Sherbet: Large white flowers with deep-pink tips
  94. Strawberry Sundae: White petals flushed with a deep pink
  95. Summer Snowball: Medium-sized white flowers
  96. Summer Snowflakes: White flowers flushed with light yellow; extremely fragrant
  97. Sundown: Large light-yellow flowers flushed lightly with Cardinal red
  98. Tabasco: Bright red flowers
  99. Temple’s Toy: Deep-red buds open to orange flowers with deep-red tips
  100. Tensaw: Bright yellow flowers
  101. Tipsy Tangerine: Scarlet buds open to flowers with different shades of orange
  102. Touch of Pink: Large white flowers with deep-pink tips
  103. Tradewinds: Large light-yellow flowers with light flushes of orange
  104. Twilight Pink: Pink flowers and deep-red buds
  105. Twinkles: White petals flushed with red on the edges
  106. White Star: Large, star-shaped white flowers with light-pink tips

Dodd Confederate Series

A cross of several rhododendron seeds, they tolerate heat well and have a lot of vigor. Most of them are difficult to grow until you get them in the semi-shade and in an area that drains well. There are 11 main types, listed below.

  1. Admiral Franklin Buchanan: Deep orange
  2. Admiral Semmes: Solid yellow
  3. Colonel Mosby: Pink with yellow flag
  4. Emma Sansom: Soft pink and yellow
  5. Frederick O. Douglass: Soft pink
  6. Robert E. Lee: Orange, close to red
  7. JEB Stuart: Pink with yellow flag
  8. Leroy Brown: Deep orange
  9. Nathan Bedford Forrest: Orange
  10. Lafayette Acree: Ruffled orange
  11. Stonewall Jackson: Medium orange

Evergreen Hybrids

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These azaleas can be crossed between other species or even other hybrids, and they provide a wide variety of bloom times, colors, and habitats. This means that, regardless of your personal preferences and tastes or where you live, you should be able to find something within this category that suits you. A few of the available categories are below.

Encore

These are true multi-season bloomers, blooming in every season except winter. They are fairly hardy and are available in 30 main types, described below.

    1. Amethyst: Red-purple
    2. Angel: White
    3. Belle: Pink
    4. Bravo: Red
    5. Carnation: Pink
    6. Carnival: Pink
    7. Cheer: Pink
    8. Chiffon: White to red
    9. Coral: Pink
    10. Debutante: Pink
    11. Embers: Red
    12. Empress: Pink
    13. Fire: Red
    14. Ivory: White
    15. Jewel: Magenta
    16. Lilac: Purple-violet
    17. Lily: Red-purple
    18. Monarch: Orange-red
    19. Moonlight: White and yellow
    20. Princess: Pink
    21. Rouge: Pink
    22. Royalty: Purple
    23. Ruby: Pink
    24. Sangria: Pink
    25. Starlite: White
    26. Sunburst: Coral
    27. Sundance: Pink
    28. Sunset: Red
    29. Sweetheart: Pink
    30. Twist: White to purple

Glenn Dale

There are over 450 Glenn Dale cultivars, and they grow from 3 to 8 feet in height. For a more detailed description of these azaleas, you can search the Internet and get additional information.

Holly Springs

These azaleas were developed in 1977 and went through more than 30 crosses. They were developed for extra hardiness in the cold and come in dwarf to mid-size growth habits and with large blooms. There are approximately 60 cultivars that come in a wide variety of colors and shades.

Satsuki

These have been hybridized in Japan for over 500 years and number nearly 200 cultivars, most of which can be found online.

Kehr

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This hybrid includes roughly 11 types of azaleas, including:

  1. Anna Kehr: Dark pink
  2. Bob Hill: Magenta
  3. Cream Perfect: White
  4. Cream Ruffles: White
  5. Harold Epstein: White flushed with green
  6. Janet Flick: Pink
  7. Kehr’s Moonbeam: Creamy white
  8. King’s Red: Red
  9. Mary Lou Kehr: Pink
  10. Memory of Fred Galle: Light yellow
  11. White Rosebud: White

Evergreen Species

There are over 40 species included in this group, and they are divided into two main categories, described below. They are native to Japan, but some have made their way to other countries. The two main categories are:

Kyushu Group

From the island of Japan and include:

    1. Kaempferi: One of the hardiest types of azaleas; has produced other hybrids, including many strong evergreen azaleas.
    2. Kiusianum: These grow up to 3 feet high and are twiggy and thick. Includes numerous wild hybrids favored by both Europeans and Americans alike.

Indica Group

Consists of two late-blooming plants, the R. Indium and the R. Tamurae species. In Japan, most groups are divided by their blooming time, and they call these two species Satsuki Hybrid azaleas.

Deciduous Species

Of the North American native azaleas, there are 17 varieties that are divided into 3 categories, described below.

The White Group

These seven varieties grow in the Eastern United States, the West, and Canada. Six are from Europe and one is from Alabama. They are:

    1. Alabamense
    2. Arborescens
    3. Atlanticum
    4. Colemanii
    5. Eastmanii
    6. Occidentale
    7. Viscosum

The Pink Group

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These five varieties bloom in early spring, often before the leaves are fully expanded. Their colors include pale pink, rose pink, and almost a cherry red. They are:

  1. Canadense
  2. Canescens
  3. Periclymenoides
  4. Prinophyllum
  5. Vaseyi

The Orange to Red Group

The five varieties range from yellow to gold to dark orange and even scarlet and include:

    1. Austrinum
    2. Calendulaceum
    3. Cumberlandense
    4. Flammeum
    5. Prunifolium

The Many Advantages of Growing Azaleas

So, you’ve decided to grow azaleas, but why? Everyone knows how beautiful they are, and there are also additional advantages to growing azaleas, and these include the following:

Climate needs

Through Zone 8, azaleas tend to grow well, which means over half of the people in North America can grow azaleas without any challenges. As long as your city doesn’t get below -10 Fahrenheit, you should be fine growing them.

Simple care and maintenance

Once azaleas are planted, they are extremely easy to take care of, and even though some pruning is necessary, azaleas do not need fertilizer. Therefore, their upkeep is minimal.

Most pests avoid azaleas

Although some diseases can strike your azaleas, pests such as flies and mites usually leave azaleas alone, which means more than likely, you won’t have to worry about these animals destroying your flowers. If you do experience any problems, they will likely be easy to take care of with a soil treatment that is inexpensive and easy to apply. For the most part, the care of azaleas is not very time-consuming.

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Forms | Shapes and Sizes | Colors | Patterns |

Azaleas have a wide variation of flower size, shape, form and color, which adds to their interest. The variations are also used to identify different azalea types, in terms of their flower parts:

corolla the petals or lobes, typically 5 and joined at the inner base of the flower. The upper petal is known as the
dorsal or upper lobe. The two petals to the side of the upper lobe are known as the upper wings. The lower petals are known as the lower wings.
calyx the small green triangles, typically 5, at the outer base of the flower
pedicel the slender green stalk that connects the base of the flower to a branch
pistil the female organ of the flower, consisting of the ovary at the inner base of the flower, a slender hollow
tube (style) extending from the ovary to a small round knob at the end (stigma), which becomes sticky to receive and retain pollen
stamens the male organs of the flower, typically 1 or more per petal, each consisting of a threadlike stalk (filament) extending from the inner base of the flower to a small knob at the end (anther), containing pollen.

Forms
The different forms of azalea flowers are:

single 5 (typically) to 7 petals fused at the base, with a visible green calyx, and with a visible pistil and 5 (typically) to 10 visible stamens
hose-in-hose the calyx is transformed into petals, such that it appears as two similar corollas, one inside the other and rotated so that all the petals are visible
semi-double some stamens have been transformed completely or partially into petals, usually smaller than the outside corolla petals, and commonly contorted
semi-double hose-in-hose transformed calyx and partially transformed stamens, combining the previous two forms
double all the stamens have been transformed completely into petals, which may be similar in size and shape to the corolla petals, and the pistil may have been transformed, but the calyx has not been transformed
double hose-in-hose the stamens and calyx have all been transformed into petals
spider the petals are narrow and straplike rather than being fused at the base

Shapes and Sizes
Variations of flower shapes are an important part of the appearance of a particular azalea variety. The shapes may change somewhat from year to year on the same plant, and they may change from plant to plant grown in different locations. Colors may also change in these ways. The exact reasons for these changes are not known.

Petal shapes range from pointy to rounded to linear.

Petal margins may be flat, wavy, ruffled or frilled, or twisted.

The overall flower shape may be tubular, funnel-shaped, bell-shaped, open, flat-faced or recurved.

Flower size, if not specified, is given as the width, or the distance between the tips of the two upper wing petals. Flower length is the distance from the base of the tube to the level of the top of the petals–in other words, the
straight height, not the sloping length of the petals.

Flower sizes range from 1/4” to as much as 5” in width for different varieties. The size may vary slightly for different plants of a given variety, particularly when planted in different locations.

Colors
Accurately describing the colors of azalea flowers is difficult. One approach is to describe a color by matching it to a complete and consistent set of color charts and names for each of the many thousands of different colors. Toward that end, a number of color charts and sets of color names have been created over the years.

Accurate color charts are difficult to print, and are therefore expensive. All but one of the color charts designed for horticultural use are out of print. The remaining chart, the Royal Horticultural Society Colour Chart of 2001, is available for around $200. Rather than naming the colors, it has 202 numbered pages, each with a different hue, with 4 color chips to a page to show the hue with deepening intensity. This gives color numbers of, for example, RHS 53D, to indicate chip D of page 53.

These definitive color names or numbers are not very useful without seeing a color chip or flower of that color. The RHS 53D number, for example, is not meaningful by itself, nor or many of the color names used in the past, such as “chatenay pink” or “neyron rose”.

The National Bureau of Standards Special Publication 440, Color Universal Language and Dictionary of Names, 1976 instead names 267 blocks in the color spectrum with a value (lightness), chroma (strength), hue modifier and hue, to give a name such as light yellowish pink. It also lists a large number of equivalent color names.
The strength of such names is their rather universal understanding without reference to a chart. The weakness of such names is their generality–light yellowish pink, for example, covers too broad a range of different colors to be useful for identifying a specific plant by color.

You can see more about colors on our Color System Help page and Color Systems page.

Color Patterns
Azalea flowers have a wide variation of color patterns. Their basic color patterns are:

self all one color
blotched a darker or lighter different color on the top petal, often extending to the upper wing petals
striped thin to wide stripes of a different color, extending from the base to the margin of any of the petals. Discontinuous stripes are usually called dots, flecks or sanding.
margined thin or wide margins of a different color, on all of the petals
sectored all or part of one or more petals of a different color

Some azaleas, particularly the Satsuki azaleas, may exhibit all of these variations on the same plant. Cuttings from a branch with a particular variation tend to produce plants with primarily that variation. Cuttings from a branch with striped or sectored patterns produce plants that eventually show all the color variations.

The Japanese value these variations highly, and have named over 20 different variations.

# Pattern name Translation Explanation / Example flowers
1 Shiromuji solid white no pattern
Hakurei, Hakatajiro, Benigasa
2 Akamuji solid red no pattern
Kazan, Taishonishiki
in 11b Jiai pale, in between
color
Nikko, Yama-No-Hikari, Bunka
3 Sokojiro white throat red or purple flower with the white center of the flower
Seidai, Kagetsu, Shugetsu, Hagoromo-No-Hikari
4 Fukurin jewel border the opposite of sokojiro with the darker color in the inner part of the flower with the border around the petals white
Nyohozan, Mine-No-Yuki Miyama-No-Yuki
8 Tsumajiro white
fingernail
white markings only at the tip of the petals
Gyokudo, Yata-No-Kagami family
9 Tsumabeni red fingernail red or purple color only at the tip of the petals, the opposite of tsumajiro
Kikoshi, Seiko-No-Tsuki, Gekkeikan
7 Tamafu or Shirotamafu jewel
spot
A lighter smudge of color in the very center of the petals. If this spot becomes larger it is called otamafu.
Yata-No-Kagami, Shinkyo
10 Oshibori major
variegation
Kotobukihime, Gyoko, Maiogi
11a Koshibori minor
variegation
Matsukagami, Benichidori, Gobinishiki
11b Daisho shibori major and minor
variegation
A mixture of major variegation (thick stripes) and minor variegations (thin stripes)
Kinkazan, Takara
12 Date shibori flashy
variegation
White crowded with a mixture of deep and light markings. Different width stripes (major and minor variegation), some extending from the edge of the petals to the base while others do not.
Matsukagami, Koho, Jusho, Kagetsu, Hakurei-No-Hikari
13 Tate shibori lengthwise
variegation
Clear stripe that starts at the edge of the petal and goes to the base.
Chiyo-No-Hikari, Fukuju, Chiyo-No-Tsuki
19 Hakeme shibori brush
variegation
Many fine parallel stripes
Reiko, Reigetsu, Chiyo-No-Hikari, Meisei
22 Sarashi shibori Many fine parallel stripes interspersed with a few thicker stripes.
Matsushima, Kami-No-Yamakirin, Komei
20 Tobiiri shibori patchy
variegation
Irregular placing of lines smaller than those of koshibori
Chiyo-No-Homare, Gyoko
18 Mijin shibori fine particle
variegation
Clouds of countless extremely small particles of color all over the petals. Smallest of the particle variegations.
Gobinishiki, Kami-No-Yamakirin, Yayoi-No-Tsuki, Reigetsu
16 Fukkake shibori spray
variegation
A fine spray of many specks originating at the edges, tending toward the center of the petal.
Kinkazan, Meisei, Gobinishiki, Asahi-No-Kaori
21 Harusame shibori spring rain
variegation
Many dots and very small lines all over the petals. Dots bigger than mijin and fukkake shibori.
Eishi, Taihei, Kasho
17 Arare shibori hail
variegation
Many large specks scattered all over the petals. Biggest of the particle variegations.
Matsu-No-Homare, Kami-No-Yamakirin
24* Kanoko shibori deer-like spots
variegation
A spotted shibori similar to the markings of a spotted deer skin. Marks bigger than mijin shibori
Komei, Kami-No-Yamakirin
15 Fukiage shibori fountain
variegation
Fine sprays and streaks of color extending in a feathery pattern from the center of the petal toward the edge, also called a tsukubane shibori.
Aikoku, Seiun
23 Hanzome shibori half
variegation
Matsukagami, Kaho, Shinsen, Hatsu-No-Hana
14 Shiro shibori white
variegation
white variegation on the base color of red or purple
Shinkyo, Heiwa, Gunrei, Gyoten
6 Janome shibori bulls-eye
variegation
Fukurin with sokojiro, that is a white border and a white throat in variegation
Kusudama, Sogen-No-Tsuki
5 Shibori sokojiro variegation, white
throat
part variegation, part white throat
Kagetsu, Benikagami, Tsuki-No-Hikari, Hogetsu
in 11b Jiai shibori pale base with
variegation
Pale color base with darker variegation
Nikko, Hikari-No-Tsukasa, Yama-No-Hikari

__________
# Galle’s Azaleas uses this number.
* Galle has Kano shibori, a different name, for what appears to be the same pattern.

The pinkshell azalea, the shrub I saw at Old Westbury, grows to 6 to 10 feet and features rose flowers in early May and burgundy to crimson foliage in fall. While there is a beautiful white-flower version, the tradeoff is fall foliage that brightens only to yellow.

The early May flowers on the 5- to 10-foot-tall roseshell azalea (R. prinophyllum, formerly classified and sometimes sold as R. roseum) are pink and fragrant, opening amid emerging leaves with pink to bronze highlights. In the fall, the leaves turn russet red to burgundy in full sun, while those in shade turn yellow. Frequently, Mr. Towe said, this variety will bear both fall colors, with red foliage on top and yellow underneath.

Pinxterbloom (R. periclymenoides, formerly classified and sometimes sold as R. nudiflorum) got its popular name from the Dutch in New York. The fragrant white to light pink flowers on this 6- to 12-foot-tall shrub open during ”pinkster,” the Dutch word for the period following Easter. In fall, burgundy colors wash through leaves in full sun.

Mr. Towe named two other azaleas — sweet azalea (R. arborescens) and swamp azalea (R. viscosum) — that have vibrant yellow fall foliage in the area of South Carolina where he lives. To learn more, he suggested I call Wayne Mezitt of Weston Nurseries in Hopkinton, Mass., an expert on native azalea hybrids.

Mr. Mezitt’s father, Ed, is famous in garden circles for introducing the PJM rhododendrons in the late 1930’s. In the 1950’s, he created a number of hybrid native azaleas, leading to a spectacular generation of new shrubs. As with all native azaleas, they are both mildew resistant and low maintenance.

How to Choose Your Perfect Encore® Azalea Color Palette

Details Created: Monday, 01 April 2019 15:37

If you are looking for a bright, colorful way to liven up your landscape this spring, consider the hardy and long-lasting Encore® Azalea series. Choosing a color scheme may seem daunting, with 31 varieties to choose from, but you are sure to find complimentary shades that perfectly reflect your personality and the style of your home.

If you are looking to establish a cool, more subdued landscape, consider any of the three purple Encore® Azaleas. Autumn Lilac™, a dwarf variety of azalea, has a lavender bloom. Autumn Amethyst™ has a more intermediate sized bloom, with hints of pink in its purple hue. Lastly, Autumn Royalty™, another intermediate sized option, was voted “Azalea of the Year” by the American Rhododendron Society, and are coveted by gardeners everywhere.

For a traditional, classic look, an array of pink Encore® Azaleas are available – 13 varieties to be exact. From pastel to hot pink to coral, you are sure to love these delicate beauties. A fan favorite is the double-ruffled Autumn Rouge™, also known as the original Encore® Azalea.

Looking to warm up your landscape? Go for a red/orange color palette. Six varieties of red Encore® Azaleas are available, in hues of blue-reds to orange-reds. Autumn Fire™, while a dwarf variety, boasts a rich, true red color with semi-double blooms. If you’re looking for more of an orange-red color, Autumn Bravo™ have gorgeous 2” blooms with dark green foliage for contrast.

Speaking of contrast, don’t forget to add variety to your mix of vivid blooms. Choose any of the four white Encore® Azaleas to add a touch of elegance to your garden. Autumn Lily™ is perhaps one of the most cold-hardy of the Encore® Azalea varieties, and is perfect for mass and foundation plantings. Meanwhile, Autumn Ivory™ is a compact grower, bursting with large quantities of blooms in the spring, summer, and fall. Being a dwarf variety, this is a fantastic choice for containers or foundation plantings.

No matter your style, personal taste, or yard size, there is almost definitely an Encore® Azalea variety for you. For more information about caring for these colorful flowers, visit your local Joe’s Market Basket stores located in Edwardsville, Godfrey, Troy and O’Fallon, or St. Peters, MO. You can also visit us online at www.joesmarketbasket.com.

Do Azaleas Change Colors: Explanations For Azalea Color Change

Imagine you have purchased a lovely azalea in just the color you wanted and eagerly anticipate the next season’s bloom. It might come as a shock to find your azalea blooms in an entirely different color. It may be just one or two blooms or it may be the whole plant. Do azaleas change colors? Many flowering plants change color as the bloom matures or can bear different flowers arising from the rootstock. However, azalea color change is usually something quite different and more fascinating.

Azalea Color Change

There are over 10,000 cultivars of azalea. The huge diversity of size and color as well as the plant’s shade loving nature have made azaleas one of the premier landscape shrubs in many regions. Sometimes, the plants are observed having different colored azalea blooms. What can account for this since azaleas do not change flower color as they age? The anomaly is likely the result of a sport, one of nature’s little jokes as it continues to increase diversity in the world.

A sport is a genetic mutation that suddenly occurs. No one is sure if this is

a response to environment, cultivation, stress or simply as common as a human developing a mole. Sports result from a faulty chromosome replication. The resulting defect may occur only once or it may persist in the plant and be passed down to successive generations.

The sporting of azalea blooms and other plants can be a good thing. Collectors and breeders search high and low for unusual sports to breed and continue. The George L. Taber azalea is a well-known sport that is cultivated and sold the world over.

Sporting of Azalea Blooms

Azalea color changes may be an entire different tone, a subtle change in hue or bear interesting markings such as white speckles on the petals. In most cases, if a plant throws a sport, it will revert back the following season. Occasionally, the sport wins and the plant becomes characteristic of that new trait.

You can also save a sport by propagating that stem. When you observe different colored azalea blooms, you can cleanly remove that stem and either air or mound layer the material to cause it to root and preserve the new trait. Rooting will take some time, but you will have saved the original genetic material and assumedly it will produce the same effect.

Older Azalea Flowers Turned Color

Azaleas are just like humans and their blooms will fade as they get older. Azalea blooms turn color over time. The deep purple tones will become soft lilac in color while the magenta will fade to pink. A good rejuvenation pruning and some babying can help perk old bushes back up.

Fertilize with an acid lover’s formula in late winter to early spring but before the plant has flowered. Make sure to water it in well.

Prune azaleas before July 4 to prevent cutting off the next year’s buds. Remove 1/3 of the stems to the junction just before the heart of the plant. Remove the other stems back a foot, cutting to growth nodes.

In a couple of years, the plant should be fully recovered from such drastic pruning and ready to produce the deeper jewel tones of its youth.

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