Azaleas and rhododendrons are a big part of what makes spring so special here in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area.
These popular shrubs dazzle us with their prolific blooms of vivid color that are focal points in the landscape.
As a testament to their popularity, they’ve been extensively hybridized, making it possible to find one in almost any color or size to fit any landscape.
With the introduction of repeat blooming azaleas, there has been a resurgence of interest in this classic flowering shrub. The repeat blooming azaleas, under the trade names and Bloom-A-Thon and Encore Azaleas, put on a big display of color in spring and will continue to flower, though not as prolifically, in late summer and fall.
The most notable difference between azaleas and rhododendrons is the arrangement of their flowers. Azaleas have one flower on each flowering stem, but produce so many stems that they appear to be covered in blossoms. Rhododendrons produce dense clusters of flowers.
Although they thrive in shady areas, azaleas tolerate some sun, but not hot afternoon sun. Rhododendrons can be planted in sun or shade, but prefer a little of both. Morning sun and afternoon shade is ideal.
The best time to prune and fertilize your azaleas and rhododendrons is soon after flowering. That way, you won’t interfere with flower buds that are established in late summer in preparation for next year’s blooms. Shearing the plants detracts from their natural grace and form. Selective hand thinning of individual branches is preferred. Fertilizing with Merrifield Flowering Plant Food will encourage strong growth with plenty of blooms for you to enjoy the following spring.
We invite you to stop by Merrifield Garden Center today, talk to our gardening experts and let us help you choose the perfect azaleas and rhododendrons for your garden!