Guest Column

Kathy’s Gardening Guide: Azaleas


The blooming of Azaleas marks the beginning of spring in the southern United States!

These evergreen shrubs show off seasonal blossoms in pinks, purples, reds, and whites. Azaleas are widely recognized for the bountiful color lining the Augusta National golf course during The Masters tournament in April, but, in our north Florida home, we are lucky to enjoy these bright blooms beginning in February!

Azaleas are low maintenance shrubs that look beautiful planted individually or in groups. When planning azaleas for your landscape, look for areas with loose, well drained soil and a mix of sunlight and shade. Most Azaleas prefer morning sun and afternoon shade. Too much full sun can burn the plant’s leaves, but too much shade can reduce the shrub’s ability to grow and bloom. Azaleas are often found planted in wooded areas where they receive filtered sunlight, but they are also a great choice for foundational plants around a home or borders along a garden bed. Additionally, these shrubs are useful as a backdrop in a landscape because they are evergreen plants that produce early spring color!

Related to the larger Rhododendron, Azaleas are available in many varieties and sizes. They range from dwarf types that remain under 3 feet tall to larger plants that can grow to 20 feet in height. Here in northeast Florida’s planting zone 9A, the most popular types of Azaleas are Encore, Fashion, Formosa, George Tanler, Gerbing, Red Ruffle, and Southern Charm.

Although some prefer Azaleas to be allowed to grow informally, light pruning after the blooming season can encourage more full development as the plant grows. If you choose to prune your Azaleas, be sure to do so quickly after the spring blooming ends.

Azaleas use the warm summer months to begin developing the buds that will be next year’s blooms.

Happy planting!

Flower of the Week: Azalea

Please email Kathy at for any questions or gardening tips you would like to see in the future. For more information and ideas, visit Kathy’s Creative Gardens & Nursery, 196 N. Roscoe Blvd. The phone number is 904-655-7373.