Will azaleas take the sun?

Stefanie33(zone 7 ALA)March 14, 2005

I have a sunny spot that I would love to put some azaleas that would only grow about 3 - 4 feet. It is afternoon sun . Could they take the heat. I am in northwest Alabama. I have one in this same place that I plan to move to a new location that has done pretty good. Are there any varieties that would do well there?

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I worked in a wholesale nursery in eastern North Carolina(HOT!!) during the summers when I was in college. They had over 100 acres of azaleas all growing in full sun on black plastic. There was also a river running on one side of the property that was pumped for irrigation 24 hours a day. They made a mint. Bottom line is, almost all azaleas will do fine in full sun if they have an established root system and enough water. I would not try to move one now. Wait until fall and make sure it gets enough water until established. Don't let it stay wet or root rot could be a problem esp. in winter. The heat won't be a problem, these are southern plants.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2005 at 5:54PM
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I would say yes, if it were morning sun. Azaleas don't really like afternoon sun actually.

But you can always try and move them again if they don't do well. I would certainly give them enough water this year since they are being moved.

As for being southern plants, I guess so - southern ASIA, that is.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2005 at 8:09PM
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go to azalea.org

    Bookmark   March 14, 2005 at 8:36PM
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Stefanie33(zone 7 ALA)

Thanks for the advice. I think I will try the spot I have picked out.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2005 at 8:49PM
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rivers1202(Z8a South Carolina)

Have 4 huge old azaleas growing in full sun...western exposure, and they get the full effect of our blistering Summer sun here in zone 8, south carolina. To top it off, they're growing next to a brick wall that makes the position even hotter during the Summer. No problems. Go for it.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2005 at 2:03AM
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Stefanie33(zone 7 ALA)

Thanks Rivers. That is what I needed is for someone to tell me they are doing it successfully. Is there a certain variety that will do better in the sun?

    Bookmark   March 15, 2005 at 8:31AM
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Dieter2NC(z7b NC)

I have two varieties of encore azaleas growing in afternoon sun, with irrigation. My neighbors have their azaleas growing in full sun. The biggest problem I have in this exposure is they are more prone to attack by lacebugs than those I have in a shadier location. And the floweres do not last as long, as they get burned up by the hot sun.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2005 at 11:27AM
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Stefanie33(zone 7 ALA)

Thanks Dieter2NC. I have been thinking about using encore. Are yours pretty shrubs when they are not blooming?

    Bookmark   March 15, 2005 at 2:33PM
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rivers1202(Z8a South Carolina)

Stefanie~ my azaleas are Formosas ( Azalea indica 'Formosa' )...they can get enormous, so I guess they wouldn't be appropriate for you size requirements. Even very young Formosas can reach your maximum height (3-4 ft) in just a few short years. I have some planted around a pine tree (again, full sun, western exposure) that were planted 2 yrs. ago. They are already over 3 ft. tall. They do take pruning exceedingly well but it'd be a yearly thing in your case to keep them the size that you'd like. And it'd have to be done just after flowering...if you wait to prune them any later, you won't have flowers the following year.
Yes, as Dieter pointed out, Azaleas grown in full-sun are prone to lacebug damage, but so are the Gumpo Azaleas I have growing in the shade on the north side of the house. The lacebugs feast on the Gumpos growing in shade as often as they do the Formosas growing in full-sun.

The flowers on my Formosas don't get burned up by the sun, either, despite their western exposure. They seem to take the heat quite well.
I don't have any experience with the Encore Azaleas, so I can't comment on how they'd do in full-sun.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2005 at 2:52AM
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rivers1202(Z8a South Carolina)

PS~ here is a link to the Formosa, just in case you'd like to check them out. They are beautiful. The Formosas that I have growing along the brick wall I mentioned in my first post are at least 6-7 ft tall and hubby has to take a hedge trimmer to them every year, but they're worth it. If you buy them small, it shouldn't be that much trouble to keep them trimmed to a more managable size.

Here is a link that might be useful: Azalea indica 'Formosa'

    Bookmark   March 16, 2005 at 3:00AM
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When I lived in SC, I had them in full sun in z 7. They did fine, but the ones under the pines in filtered sun did better, it seemed.

When I moved to Florida, I killed 10 azaleas before someone told me they had to be in shade down here. Can't take the hot subtropical sun in the afternoons.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2005 at 8:46AM
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Dieter2NC(z7b NC)

Of the encores, I think the Autumn Princess has the best looking foliage, as it is similar to the Formosa, it has larger leaves and tends to grow more horizontal. It will depend on what you're looing for in leaf form as to what you consider "looking good when not in bloom". Some encores lose nearly all their leaves in winter, while others do not. The leaves look much better on mine which are in a shady spot, than those which recieve afternoon sun, but those in more sun tend to get more blooms.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2005 at 7:33AM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

Here in Jacksonville, Florida, they do better in shifting shade or afternoon shade. Some varieties - Duc de Rohn, for example, burn up in full sun.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2005 at 10:46PM
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Sophie Wheeler

A china rose like Martha Gonzales will have decorative foliage for about 10 months out of the year and bloom about 8 months out of the year and be disease free. I like azalias, but under trees where other shrubs have difficulty growing. They are happier in shade anyway. For any full sun spot, I prefer easy care roses as they provide constant bloom from April through November.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2005 at 2:15PM
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pinkclogs(9 Central Fl)

We just purchased some knockout roses that are very low maintenance, disease and pest resistant, look like a hedge in the pot (more like a shrub than other roses in our small garden), and my husband thinks they look just like azaleas. I agree--they are similar in appearance. They grow to 4 foot tall, but gardener guy on television said they should be pruned to stay at 3 feet. They take full sun and (good news!) bloom 11 months of the year.

Just another idea.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2005 at 1:28PM
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