Types of Azaleas – Stunning flowers for your fairy garden

Types of Azaleas

Azaleas are one of the most commonly cultivated blooming shrubs, with hundreds of variations in a variety of shapes and sizes. It’s important to consider if a variety is adapted to the location where it will be planted when choosing which Azaleas to add to your landscape. If you would like more information about this flower, this article from gardenhow.net will show you types of Azaleas that have different characteristics and colors. 

Azalea characteristics

First of all, to find out and decide on the types of Azaleas, you need to have further knowledge about the characteristics of them. Azaleas vary in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and sizes, but they all prefer the same cultural practices and features. 

Azalea blooms are funnel-shaped with two lips and are frequently fragrant. Rhododendron flowers, on the other hand, are frequently bell-shaped. Azalea blooms normally have just 5 projecting stamens, but rhododendron blossoms typically have 10 (or more). 

Azaleas have a wide range of colors, sizes, and shapes. The leaves range in length from 1/4 inch to over 6 inches. 

Depending on the variety, Azalea bushes can grow mostly upward or spread outward. They can be as short as 1 foot and as tall as 15 feet. 

Azaleas enjoy mild climates with plenty of humidity. Although they prefer the shade, some thrive in direct sunlight. Select a variety that is appropriate for your climate and location. 

types of azaleas
Azalea flowers

Types of Azaleas

Azaleas have over 800 different species and over 10,000 different varieties. Azaleas can add a bright splash of color to any garden or landscape. Few shrubs can match the display that Azaleas put on with their flowers. The Azalea is a popular plant because of its abundance of vibrantly colored blooms. The majority of Azalea plant varieties bloom in the spring, but others bloom in the summer and a few in the fall, allowing you to enjoy Azaleas in your landscape for several months. 

There are 4 types of Azaleas:

  • Native Azalea
  • Hybrid Azalea
  • Azalea Bonsai
  • Deciduous Azalea
  • Evergreen Azalea

Let’s discover each type of Azaleas.  

Native Azalea

One of the most significant types of Azaleas we should mention is Native Azaleas. Native Azaleas are among the most beautiful native plants, yet they are rarely seen in gardens. Native Azaleas are blooming bushes that reach 6′-8′ in height. You can use them as a specimen plant, in hedgerows or shrub borders, as a background for a perennial garden, or as a hedgerow or shrub border.  

Azaleas are woodland plants that thrive in light or partial shade, with plenty of rainfall, good drainage, and acidic, humus-rich soil. 

Their blooms range from white to pink to orange, with some blooming in the early spring and others in the summer. Some have a distinctive smell.

Sweet Azalea 

Sweet Azalea is a plant that grows wild in eastern North America. With its pure white blossoms and contrasting red stamens, it’s a lovely addition to the forest garden. The large 2-inch flowers are fragrant and stay for a long time. 

Sweet Azalea

Flame Azalea

Rhododendron calendulaceum, often known as the Flame Azalea, is regarded as one of the most beautiful American shrubs, and its bright blossoms make it one of the most outstanding native plants. The flowers are larger than most other natives, up to 3 inches in diameter (7 cm), and have buds that resemble candle flames (hence the common name).

Flame Azalea
Flame Azalea

Coast Azalea 

Rhododendron atlanticum, sometimes known as Coastal Azalea or Dwarf Azalea, is a fragrant semi-dwarf deciduous Azalea native to the United States’ south eastern coastal plains. Its funnel-shaped, white blooms, up to 1.5 in. broad (3-4 cm), with beautifully protruding stamens, bloom before the leaves appear in mid to late spring, and are frequently slightly tinged with pink on the outside. 

Coast Azealea
Coast Azealea

Pinkshell Azalea

Rhododendron vaseyi (Pink-Shell Azalea) is a deciduous, irregular, rounded shrub with trusses of 4 to 8 delicate pink to white, flat-faced blooms on leafless stems, with some conspicuous spotting in their throat. It is one of the first and most stunning spring-flowering native Azaleas to bloom. 

Pinkshell Azalea
Pinkshell Azalea

Hybrid Azalea

A hybrid Azalea is a cross between two or more varieties of Azaleas. In other words, when species of Azaleas grow from seeds, cuttings are the only method to propagate a hybrid.

Hybrid Azaleas may be deciduous and evergreen. Azaleas have been hybridized over many years. Azalea hybrids include a wide range of cultivars which are raised for their plant habits, sizes, flowering times, and colors. Creating hybrids ensures that there are Azaleas that cater to almost any landscape need or personal preferences!

  • Mollis Hybrid: Mollis hybrids produce magnificent clusters of vividly colored, delicately rumpled blooms in the late spring to early summer garden.The tidy shrubs have light to bright green foliage that becomes a brilliant gold, orange, purple, and scarlet in the fall.
  • Knaphill (Exbury) Azalea Hybrids: The flowers of the Knaphill hybrids may reach a diameter of 10 cm and are available in a wide range of colors, including gold, yellow, orange, and red, as well as endless variations of these colors. Many of the types have vivid colors and are quite fragrant. Azaleas from Knaphill Exbury, like Azalea Glowing Embers, are cold hardy
Hybrid Azalea
Hybrid Azalea

Azalea Bonsai

Bonsai are thought to be beautiful types of Azaleas with unique shapes. Many Azalea varieties make beautiful bonsai plants, giving long-lasting and appealing color to indoor spaces. Azalea bonsai is famous because of its beautiful blossoms. If you take proper care of this plant, it should bloom in late spring or early summer. Depending on the Azalea cultivar, these flowers come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors.

  • Satsuki Azalea Bonsai: One of the most popular and enjoyable bonsai species is the Satsuki Azalea. The fact that it has a profusion of beautiful flowers while in full bloom is the first and major reason for its appeal. The plant adapts well to container gardening, trunks up significantly in a very short amount of time, responds well to significant root trimming, and readily grows new buds with outstanding vigor on old wood, in addition to being a visual joy.

This plant is extremely hardy and produces gorgeous blooms with a diameter of up to seven inches.

  • Kurume Azalea Bonsai: Kurume hybrids are Azaleas cultivated in Japan that are a cross of R. kaempferi (originally Dutch bred), R.kiusianum, and R.obtusum. Kurume hybrids are more hardy than Satsukis and produce a large number of small funnel-shaped blooms in a variety of colors throughout the spring.
  • Lemon Lights: ‘Lemon Lights,’ a cold-hardy variety from the University of Minnesota, is covered in masses of vibrant, lemon yellow blooms with a light, pleasantly fragrant aroma. The vivid green foliage, which comes in burgundy and purple, adds to the fall appeal.
Azalea Bonsai

Deciduous Azalea

In one of the types of Azaleas, the rhododendron family’s deciduous Azalea plants produce brilliant, delicate blooms that are frequently delicately fragrant. Zones 5 through 9 of the United States Department of Agriculture are ideal for all of them. Deciduous Azaleas, especially in yellows and oranges, put on a spectacular show. They’re hardy, fast-growing plants that reach a height of 125-150cm (4′-5′) in ten years. Deciduous Azaleas, especially in yellows and oranges, put on a fantastic display. They’re hardy, fast-growing plants that reach a height of 125-150cm (4′-5′) in ten years. 

  • Deciduous Azalea Nabucco: Dark red blooms with a bright reddish orange flare and contrasting yellow anthers. Hachmann’s Nursery in Northern Germany has produced a superb and very hardy introduction. Late May to early June is when the flowers bloom. They are 150–175 cm in height. 
  • Deciduous Azalea Daviesii AGM: Pink buds open creamy, then become white with a yellow splotch. In May and June, the blossoms grow up to 65mm wide and have a lovely fragrance. Unlike other deciduous Azaleas, this one is tough and slow-growing.
  • Flame Azalea: Flame Azalea is a deciduous shrub with erect branches that grows 6-12 feet tall and as wide as it is wide, with huge, beautiful funnel-shaped blooms in clusters of 5 or more. Summer foliage is a medium green, with a subdued yellow to red fall hue. The non-fragrant blooms range in color from pale yellow to apricot to blazing scarlet red and occur before or with the leaves.
Deciduous Azalea
Deciduous Azalea

Evergreen Azalea

When it comes to types of Azaleas, Evergreen Azalea is the most popular name. In the Ericaceae plant family, evergreen Azaleas are one of two subgenera of Rhododendron. This particular shrub retains its color throughout the year by not dropping its leaves in the winter. Star-shaped red, purple, pink, and white blooms blossom on these shade-loving plants. Flowers bloom within the bush’s wide leaves, but they require sunlight to flourish. 

Korea, Japan, and China are home to a variety of evergreen Azalea species. They aren’t native to the United States (though quite a few hybrid cultivars are now imported to the US). Evergreen Azaleas attract pollinators and can be used as a privacy screen or attractive ground cover around your home. 

Here are some of the most common Evergreen Azalea varieties:

  • ‘Encore’ Azaleas: The Encore series of Azaleas are known for their long bloom time, with the first flush blooming in mid-spring. They rebloom from midsummer until frost after a brief rest. Several also have magnificent fall foliage that changes to colors of bronze, burgundy, purple, and red as the weather cools. Encore plants are also more tolerant of full light than many other varieties.
  • Snow Azaleas: Snow Azaleas have white blooms that face upward, resembling snow puffs. This shrub blooms for a long time and has glossy foliage. They provide good pollination stations for bees and are resistant to diseases.
  • Formosa:  ‘Formosa’ blooms are a beautiful lavender pink with magenta freckles and streaks on the top petals and are bold, big, and stunning.
  • Chinzan:  ‘Chinzan’ is a lovely dwarf cultivar with masses of strong hot-to-salmon pink flowers in early spring that rebloom from midsummer to fall.

Low borders, containers, foundations, islands, and mass plantings are ideal for these compact, mounding shrubs.

Evergreen Azalea
Evergreen Azalea

What is the difference between Deciduous and Evergreen Azaleas? 

  • Flower: Deciduous Azaleas have tubular blooms with longer stamens, whereas evergreen Azaleas have star-shaped or round petals and shorter stamens.
  • Growing conditions: Evergreen Azaleas prefer to be maintained out of direct sunlight and require extra protection from other harsh factors such as the wind. Deciduous Azaleas are more cold-hardy and withstand full sun. Azaleas grow best in USDA Hardiness Zones 4–9, while evergreen Azaleas will flourish in warmer climates.
  • Growth Habit: Evergreen Azaleas are considerably taller than deciduous Azaleas. Evergreen Azaleas seldom grow higher than six feet, although deciduous Azaleas can reach a height of eight to fifteen feet.
  • Leaves: The leaves of deciduous Azaleas are four inches longer than those of evergreen Azaleas. The leaves of evergreen Azaleas rarely grow longer than two inches.

What is the best Azalea?

Of the types of Azaleas, Encore Azalea is considered the best choice for your garden. Encore Azaleas have a distinctive bloom cycle that extends several seasons. The bloom cycle, like that of all other Azaleas, begins in the spring. Encore Azaleas, on the other hand, are busy setting new buds for a second flowering when other Azaleas are losing their blooms for the year. Summer flowers are about to bloom before the last spring flower fades. But they aren’t finished yet; in the fall, they will blossom again. We’re talking about vivid flowers three times a year—the show never goes on hiatus—and even the evergreen foliage brings energy to the dead of winter! With 24 cultivars that are cold hardy to zone 6, these outstanding performers are pest resistant and sun tolerant.

Which types of Azaleas are poisonous?

Azaleas are found in over 1,000 different species in the United States. Azaleas refer to the smaller, more delicate plants, whereas rhododendrons refer to the bigger shrub plants. There are even Azaleas that are evergreen. The evergreen variety maintains its leaves throughout the year, whilst other kinds lose their foliage in the fall. All types of Azaleas are toxic in all forms and in all sections. You can find Grayanotoxins in them. Ingesting these poisons can cause a variety of symptoms in people and animals. 

Poisonous parts of Azalea

Grayanotoxins are chemicals that make all parts of the Azalea, including the nectar, harmful to humans and animals.

You can find this in all parts of the Azaleas. Grayanotoxins block normal muscle activity in humans and animals, including the heart, and can cause nerve damage. 

According to the University of Maryland Extension, toxins can also be found in honey prepared from Azalea flower nectar. 

In general, the severity of poisoning varies with the quantity of plants consumed by a person or animal. 

Are Azaleas poisonous to humans?

In fact, all types of Azaleas are poisonous to people. Adults and children who consume a part of the plant will most likely experience a burning sensation in their mouth, followed by excessive saliva. If you take Azalea honey, you can face some problem such as vomiting, irregular heart rhythms, convulsions, and mild paralysis. Therefore, most people call honey tainted with grayanotoxins as “mad honey”. 

Because some of the plant’s toxins are broken down and made harmless in humans’ digestive systems, Azalea consumption seldom results in death. Small children, on the other hand, are in far greater danger. Serious side effects, such as cardiac arrhythmia, have been reported. Looking for evidence of the plant in the gastrointestinal system might help with the diagnosis. 

Detoxification, fluid replacement, and other therapies for existing symptoms are frequently included in therapy. 

types of azaleas

Azalea poisoning in animals

All types of Azaleas are poisonous to dogs, cats, and horses because of their toxins. If an animal consumes enough Azalea plant tissue to make up 0.2 percent of its body weight, it may get poisoning symptoms.

Are Azaleas poisonous to dogs and cats?

Dogs and cats are harmful to Azaleas, but they are less likely to eat them than animals. Excessive drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, trouble walking, appearing lethargic, tremors or seizures, lack of appetite, and coma are all visible signs that an animal has consumed some component of an Azalea plant. Blindness, an irregular heartbeat, abdominal pain, and depression are some of the other symptoms that may go unnoticed at first.

As a result, to eliminate as much poison from the gastrointestinal tract as possible, veterinarians will use activated charcoal or saline to flush your cat. In order to avoid dehydration and low blood pressure, the veterinarian would most likely administer intravenous fluids. 

Are Azaleas poisonous to horses and livestock?

Horses are highly harmful to Azaleas. All parts are poisonous, but the leaves and nectar contain a toxin that is particularly harmful. These may disrupt the heart’s rhythm, resulting in an arrhythmia or cardiac arrest. 

Clinical signs might appear anywhere from a few minutes to three hours after consumption. Symptoms include frothy salivation, a slow or irregular heartbeat, muscle weakness, lack of appetite, gastrointestinal problems, diarrhea, tremors, or seizures.

Many horses may fail to recover from Azalea poisoning, and those who do may have long-term heart damage, restricting their activity, so prevention is essential.

Note: If you have Azaleas in your garden, keep them safe from young children and grazing animals by putting them out of reach or inside a fence. You can plant smaller cultivars in pot and if necessary, you can move away from children. If you have pets, consider growing only nontoxic plants for dogs and cats in your garden.

Effects of Azalea poisoning

Azalea poisoning usually manifests itself after a few hours of consumption. The severity is determined by the amount of plant consumed and the speed with which treatment is delivered.  

A pet might quickly die if not treated, so get help from a veterinarian as soon as possible. Inform them that you suspect Azalea poisoning and, if possible, bring a leaf or blossom sample with you. Only the milder symptoms occur in people, and you can have a full revocery. Knowledge, awareness, and prudence, on the other hand, are by far the best policies! 

types of azaleas
Azalea poisoning

Benefits of Azaleas

All types of Azaleas provide many benefits for your landscape and other plants. 

Few blooming shrubs can match the beauty and elegance of Azaleas in terms of landscaping and gardening. The amazing diversity of hues and tints given by these fragile flowers may create magnificent displays of beauty in the springtime. 

Due to the acidic nature of MicroLife Acidifier 6-2- 4 and the additional humates it supplies, it is also being successfully used throughout Texas to aid many other types of plants growing in soil with overly high pH levels.

In addition,  Azalea flower tea can help with gastritis. Gastritis is a bacterial infection that causes inflammation of the stomach mucosa. You can use the Azalea flower to prevent this. 

Q & A  

Which Azalea is the hardiest?

The “Northern Lights” series of Azaleas, developed by the University of Minnesota in the 1980s, are the most hardy. The Azaleas in this collection are hardy to zone 4. Orchid Lights is a member of the Northern Lights series.

Do Azaleas grow fast? 

The average annual growth rate of these shrubs is less than 12 inches. The rate at which their leaves and height develop slower as they get older. Plants that are immature or juvenile grow more quickly than those that are mature. All types will only grow to a genetic size limit. A cultivar bred to reach 3 feet in height will not grow much taller.  

Final Thoughts

Many gardeners rely on many Azalea varieties for bushes with magnificent flowers that tolerate shade. This article from gardenhow.net provides detailed information about types of Azaleas, especially types of Azalea bushes. With a complete understanding, you will choose appropriate types of Azaleas to create a stunning landscape and color mix. Thank you for reading! 

Related posts:
All about Azalea: Azalea plant care guides for your lovely garden
Azalea Flower Festivals – Azalea Paradise for flower lovers
Best and Worst Azalea companion plants
When does Azaleas bloom? How to promote blooming Azaleas?
Cutting Azaleas: The easiest way for propagating Azaleas

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