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Native Azaleas

Posted by judyfl z9/cenfl (My Page) on
Tue, Mar 21, 06 at 7:52

Enjoyed reading the article on native azaleas in the current issue of Southern Living. There wasn't much in the article about 'arborescens', the only one I have. I purchased it at the Leu Gardens (Orlando) sale last March. It didn't bloom last year, and I don't see any signs of flowers this year, either, although it has leafed out beautifully. Can anyone tell me if I can expect it to flower here...EVER...and if I should look for other/better varieties of natives? judy in Sanford

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Native Azaleas

depending on the site, might not be getting enough sun. some of my natives in shade do not flower as freely as those in more sun.
also, they can take a couple of years to settle in after transplant and flower better in the years to come.
a good one for your area is r. austrinum, if you like the orange/yellow tones.

native azalea distribution map

here is a link with information about our native azaleas.
r. viscosum and r. canescens are native to your area. (links to distribution map included)
not saying the others can't be grown where you live but a plant that has been found growing naturally in an area would be a good choice for that location based on soils and climate.
some of these found at higher elevations and in cooler environments might be difficult to establish in central florida.

Here is a link that might be useful: native azaleas information

RE: Native Azaleas

R. arborescens grows in the mountains of Maryland where I live and also New England. I believe its range extends all the way down to Georgia. Depending on the seed source of your plant it may not be all that well adapted to Central Florida although it sounds like your plant is doing well, just not flowering. Sometimes it takes of a few years for a native azalea to flower after purchasing it in a one or two gallon container.

RE: Native Azaleas

Native azaleas are like kids.There are good ones and bad ones.Some grow faster,some speak sooner and some are just perfect.When you mention R. arborescens in Florida,bells go off.This plant really likes an area(geographical) with less
humidity and will probably not be at its best in your area.There are,however,exceptions to every rule.Don't forsake the plant.Just give it time.Most will sulk for a couple of years after planting and then go wild and bloom every year.Sopme hardly ever bloom at all.Sometimes it is the luck of the draw.
You should try R.atlanticum(Coastal Azalea).Also try R.serrulatum or R. viscosum for white flowers.Also seek R. alabamense(sweet smelling).R.canescens or nudiflorum will also be good candidates possibly.Good luck in finding all these however.Buy what you can get and be patient.
Give your rhodos excellent drainage,high filtered light,
ample water in times of dryness and don't fertilize them to death.When I plant mine ,I don't use anything but ground pine bark and a little cottonseed meal mixed with the soil.
Fertilize the second year just after flowering and again about mid summer with 16-4-8.Mulch to conserve moisture.
Please forgive me if this message gate"unindented"and looks out of line.This site doesn't seem to get paragraphs straight all the time.Send an email address and I will get you some pix as my azaleas bloom. Charlie

RE: Native Azaleas

My native azaleas bloom best when they get 4-6 hours of morning sun.

RE: Native Azaleas

You are probably too far south for that plant to 'season'. Here is a link about your azalea. My sweets are in full bud and ready to pop open any day here in east-central Alabama.

RE: Native Azaleas

I was at a plant sale over in Mount Dora today and saw two gorgeous plants in bloom. One was R. austrinum, which was coral colored with a faint fragrance. I think someone said that would be a good choice for me here in Central Florida. The other was truly spectacular...bright, buttercup yellow flowers.... It was named Admiral Semmes. I resisted the temptation to purchase either of them, since they were fairly pricey...or so I $45 each. Or is that the going rate? I'm wondering if the Admiral will grow here? The vendor was from up near Gainesville, which gets cooler winter weather than Central Florida. Any thoughts? judy

RE: Native Azaleas


You've got a shot with R. austrinum if you're north of Orlando. I don't know about Admiral Semmes, except that it has R. austrinum in it, so maybe it can be grown as well. Since these are slower growing plants, $45 wouldn't be too expensive for say a 3 gallon container. There are more cheap sources out there for these such as Mail Order Natives in Lee, FL. PF

RE: Native Azaleas

This is probably too late for you but the "Admiral Semmes" was developed by the Dodd & Dodd nusery near Mobile and is one of my favorites. Your area should have just enough cool weather to make it think it is going through the seasons. R. austrinum is my best producer. I have ten or so and one that is about 10' tall and flowers like crazy. Good Luck.

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