Shade & Native Azaleas
All azaleas are Rhododendrons, although this term is commonly used to refer to the varieties with large, leathery leaves found in the Appalachian Mountains. All Rhododendrons like acidic, well drained soils with high organic content, the opposite of clay soils found in the Mid-South region. Therefore, in our area, raised beds are best for any variety of Rhododendron, whether it is a Hybrid azalea for the Shade, an Encore Azalea for the Sun or a Native Azalea.
Evergreen Shade Azaleas for the Mid-South
Shade Azaleas are traditionally the most common type of Azaleas found in Mid-South landscapes. These evergreen shrubs originated in Japan and Southern India, and many currently available are the result of hybridization by plant breeders beginning in the early 1900s.
Generally deciduous shrubs of the Rhododendron genus that are found in Southeast woodlands and have clusters of trumpet-shaped flowers. Most bloom in the Spring, except for the Plumleaf Azalea that blooms in the Summer. All need acidic, well-drained soil. Native Azaleas of the R. minus species are evergreen. See "Shade & Native Azalea" pdf for details.