Azaleas - or not

seegaye(9)December 3, 2012

I have a nightmare sidewalk to landscape - 90 feet long. It stretches through high dappled shade, has areas that are more in sunlight and some that are more in shadow.

I am considering azaleas as part of the 'runway'. They would be used:

A) in front of a hedge of Anise that is on the South side of my house (mostly high / dappled shade but one end gets a hit of afternoon sun for a few hours)

B) then turn the corner to become the rear portion (or single row) of a hedge row in the east side of my house (eave shadow and mostly shade with one end getting a few hours of morning sun)

C) On the East side, they would also be on the other side of the sidewalk where they would get morning sun for part of the day, then high dappled shade.

I want to keep them at 2 to 3 feet and dont mind pruning back as needed. Not wanting to 'butcher' them, so dont get excited about the term 'hedge'. Just need to have it shapey enough not to look out of control. Like a somewhat natural look, yet not rangey.

Long story about the efforts to deal with the long sidewalk, but here is the question in a nutshell...

Local nursery has these varieties:

Duc De Rohn - Orange Red
Fashion - salmon pink
Formosa - purple or red
Southern Charm - fushia
George Tabor - Pale Pink

I would prefer a bright bloom so the GT is of lesser interest than the others. I would like a variety that also has a nice 'bush' so that when not in bloom it still looks nice. I am willing to give care as needed, but dont want to slave at it.

At the front half portion of the sidewalk I have variegated pittisporum. I also have hydrangeas - flowering and varigated - as well as the Anise hedge - none of which are along the walk, but are off to each side under trees, along the house, etc. All are thriving if that gives an idea of what lives here :)

Sounds like a mess to landscaping purests, I am sure, but it is what it is. My goal is to have a nice variety of plants along the sidewalk to reduce the 'runway' affect. Besides azaleas, I have considered green pittisporum, viburnum suspensum, and boxwood to name the ones I can recall. Whatever I choose needs to be able to go in front of the anise and then turn the corner to continue on its own.

Since this is the azalea forum, I am mostly interested in hearing about the azalea options, altho would take any advice.


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I didn't see an indication of where this garden is. Judging from what the nursery is offering, you must be somewhere in the east, south of Virginia. The selection is limited to Southern Indian hybrids and 'Fashion", a Glenn Dale. If you really want a bright bloom, you are going to have to look elsewhere. Unless you are willing to broaden your search, your decision may come down to what is locally available. 'George Lindley Taber' does make a really nice hedge.

Have you had any experience with the Encore(R)hybrid azaleas? They are available almost everywhere. If you go to the Encore(R) Web site (, they can point you to a nearby nursery that carries them. The Encore(R) hybrids have the tendency to bloom multiple times during the season, hence the name "Encore." The Web site also has pictures ("The Collection")to help you make your selection.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 6:45AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you Azaleabill. I appreciate your input. I am in Florida. I think my zone is 8 or 9. I live about an hour south of Ocala and an hour north of Tampa in the middle of the state. We had some really cold winters here for a couple of years running - in the teens - but usually our lows are high 20s at most. Highs are easily in the 90 - 95 range in the summer. I live in a forested area so our extremes may be a bit more than other areas of the state - something about being surrounded by the thick trees, I think.

I have heard of the encores and agree they are nice, but given the sheer number of plants I would need to do what I have in mind, wanted to use what was available at the local nursery where I can get them at about half of what I would pay at the stores.

I find the purples, deep pinks, and salmon colors of most of the plants I mention above to be quite bright. The George Tabor is a pale pink isnt it? That is why I had it last on my preferences, but just as important as the bloom is the bush itself. I dont want a bunch of scrappy sad looking bushes when the plants are not blooming.

As a child I recall my mom had a hedge of what I believe where the purple formosas. She clipped it like a hedge at a bit over three feet and when it bloomed it was glorious.

Is it possible to keep the larger azaleas clipped down to two or three feet without compromising them?

When researching the varieties offered above, I saw that the Duc De Rohn is a medium size and was wondering about it. I read somewhere that it flat out didnt do well in hard hits of sun, however, so was concerned about the two areas of my proposed planting that get a few hours of direct sun.

I have heard that Fashions are easy and tough and accepting of most situations.

I appreciate the input. This sidewalk has been a nightmare to landscape. I am not giving up though! :)

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 7:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

My aunt onced lived in Ocala and I saw azaleas for sale and growing fine there. One thing is, most nurseries have very little supply of azaleas so your choices will be limited. Just a fyi only. I have had azaleas exposed to temps above 110s for several years and it has not been a problem provided I watered accordingly. Highs in the 90s would not be problem but windy locations might help dry them out during the summer. The nursery sounds like it is stuck with some big ones. Indicas like Formosa/Tabor/SC get tall, maybe twice what you want (which you can prune of course). So these indicas, due to their height, will tend to act as a focal point and will require frequent pruning to keep them in check. They probably will look better if you frequently prune them (as opposed to skipping a few years and then having to prune thicker stems). I am not familiar with DDR. I assume you have a water supply in the area.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 4:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for the input. As long as I can keep them pruned back to a smaller size without making the plant suffer, I am okay with that. Pruning them back once a year is not really all that much work and would likely lead to a prettier plant in regard to the leaves. I know that in this area we are not supposed to prune after a certain time of year - I think it is July - else blooms are sacrificed. I almost prefer the formosas and such for the larger leaf and less formal look of the plants, but am tempted by the Fashion azalea for the pretty salmon color blooms! They are quite pretty when covered with those flowers. Of course, the purplish pink formosas are stunning when in bloom as well.

Any input on which variety is the toughest / easiest? I am talking regular sized verse the smaller ones like a Fashion. Thanks!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 5:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

It is best to prune soon after they stop blooming. They can start setting flower buds for the following year a couple weeks after they stop blooming. You don't list any of the ever-blooming types such as Encore azaleas. They are trickier to prune and never produce as good a bloom set at any one time as the regular azaleas.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 4:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Some of my azaleas where in shade for many years, and stopped blooming and became rangey. Can I cut all or part of the main stems back to a foot or so from the ground (with no leaves left on the stubs) and expect them to grow new shoots? Or are they shot?

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 4:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hello. I live in Southwest Florida (near Ft. Myers) and my grow zone is 10a. I have Bougainvillea that blooms throughout the winter and early spring. I would like to plant azaleas along with the Bougainvillea so I will have blooms throughout the summer. This area of my lawn gets the early morning up until the mid afternoon sun. Can azaleas survive direct Florida summer sun?

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 9:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

Cape Cod: You will never know if they will survive unless you give them a chance. The problem is that azaleas that are growing in shade have a lower chance of coming back from a severe pruning than those in part sun. You should know in a couple weeks.

Make sure the roots are mulched properly and don't let them dry out, but don't keep them wet either.

Here is a link that might be useful: How to grow rhododendrons and azaleas

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 9:32AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

Florida: There are azaleaa native to Florida:

R. austrinum, the Florida Azalea 5', -5F. It is a deciduous azalea found from northwest Florida to Georgia, Alabama and southeast Mississippi. This plant blooms in early spring as the leaves are beginning to expand. The fragrant, sometimes lemony, blossoms come in shades of orange through gold and yellow with a reddish tube, and measure approximately 1 to 1.5 inches across. This species has very long stamens and the tube of the flower is often flushed with red but there is no blotch. Discovered by Dr. A. W. Chapman before 1865, R. austrinum is similar in many respects to R. canescens including the sticky glandular hairs on the flower tube, but differs in the color variations which are orange to yellow rather than pink to white. R. austrinum makes an excellent landscape plant as well as a valuable hybridizing resource, especially in southern gardens where heat tolerance is important. It is a tetraploid, meaning it has twice the number of chromosomes of most rhododendrons and as a result will not hybridize with them. Natural hybrids between R. austrinum and R. canescens do occur but aren't common since R. austrinum is found in upland woods and R. canescens is found in low areas near streams. Although R. austrinum resembles R. canescens, it is more closely related to R. luteum and R. occidentale.

R. canescens, the Florida Pinxter or Piedmont Azalea 5', -5F. It has white to pinkish tubular flowers with stamens two to three times longer than the petals. It is often confused with R. periclymenoides. Both are medium deciduous azaleas that are found in the Carolinas but can be separated by the flower tubes, which in R. periclymenoides are fuzzy. R. canescens also has tiny hairs, but they are sticky and glandular. Another noticeable difference is that when a flower of R. periclymenoides dies, a ridge on the corolla tube tends to catch on the end of the pistil so that a flower cluster past its prime consists of several dangling blossoms. Although widespread in the eastern half of the U.S., these two wild azaleas differ in distribution. In South Carolina, for example, R. periclymenoides is a Piedmont plant, with almost no specimens reported from the Sandhills or Coastal plain, while R. canescens is predominantly a Low Country plant absent from the Piedmont, except in counties that border the Savannah River. In general, if it grows wild north of South Carolina, it's likely R. periclymenoides; south of the Palmetto State and it's probably R. canescens. Both species prefer moist, humus-laden, acidic soil but seem to do equally well in shade or sun. Old specimens can reach heights of 12-15 feet and have multiple stems or trunks up to 5" in diameter. Rhododendron canescens was discovered by Mark Catesby, who published a picture of it in 1731. Michaux collected it in South Carolina between 1784 and 1796. It was probably introduced to England in the mid-eighteenth century. R canescens forms natural hybrids with several species that occur within its geographic range.

For other heat tolerant azaleas visit my website:

Heat Tolerant Rhododendrons and Azaleas where you will find lists of:

The Aromi Hybrid Deciduous Azaleas which were bred in Alabama.

The Southern Indica Hybrids which are Evergreen Azaleas that are quite popular.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 9:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Haven't visited the forums in quite a while and somehow missed these nice and informative posts. Thank you for posting - very late of me, I know. But thank u! :)

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 8:51PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
help! trying to identify the issue...
I live in Tulsa Oklahoma (zone 7) and purchased these...
Tiny white specks on Rhododendron?
I have a 6 year old rhododendron (Virginia Richards)...
Houzz kills Garden Web utility
Houzz has just about killed the Garden Web. We can...
Rhody leaves getting smaller every year
Hi! I have a rhododendron (I think it's a loreley)....
Trimming Encore Azaleas
They've gotten "leggy" so I want to cut them...
Sponsored Products
Red & Gold Azalea Wool Rug
$49.99 | zulily
Laetitia Frame 8" x 10"
$1,100.00 | Horchow
Signature Flame Vineyard Chandelier with Azalea Glass
Winthrope Hiers 'Azaleas,Bonaventure' Canvas Art
Azalea Dark Burgundy Four-Light Chandelier with Shade
$291.60 | Bellacor
Area Rug: Concord Azalea Garden Traditional 3' 4" x 5'
$86.97 | Home Depot
American Rug Craftsmen Concord Azalea Garden Traditional Area Rug Multicolor - 1
$95.99 | Hayneedle
Ceramic Pottery Round Toilet Brush Holder in Assorted Colors
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™