Each April, spectators around the globe would watch the most famous major championship in professional golf. We would stare in amazement at the pristine greens and manicured fairways of the iconic American golf course located in Augusta Georgia. On Sunday, the accolades would go to the champion along with his green jacket, but the real winner of the tournament was always Mother Nature and her green thumb. Mother Nature with her azaleas, rhododendron, and dogwood lining the course in full spring splendor. Every green and fairway beautifully carved from the Georgian hill country designed to add color and texture to a stunning backdrop. If you’ve never witnessed the glory of hole 13, Azalea, it’s worth watching just for its beauty and elegance. The 13th hole has an estimated 1,600 azalea bushes.

Where Can I Plant Azaleas?

Looking to add flower color and an oriental flavor to your shady spot? Azaleas and Rhododendron are just the thing. Often underappreciated, azaleas will make your backyard a masterpiece in brilliant colors. Spring flowering, azaleas are shade-loving evergreen shrubs that will do well in many mid-west landscapes. Best as foundation plantings on the north or east sides of the home or under any shade canopy.

What Are the Best Mid-West Performing Azaleas?

Best performing azaleas varieties for the mid-west include the Herbert, Karen, and Hot-Shot. These compact evergreen azaleas will reach a mature height of 3-4 feet under ideal conditions. The Yedonese or Poukhanense Compact Korean azaleas with its purple flowers and evergreen leaf can reach five feet tall.

When Do Azaleas and Rhododendron Bloom?

Most azaleas bloom for a few weeks in early spring. Many new re-blooming varieties of azaleas have been popular in the last few years. Proven Winners latest Bloom-A-Thon Double Pink, Lavender, and Red azaleas are establishing themselves as one of the most outstanding re-bloomers. Blooming in spring, with sporadic summer flowers and then a massive re-blooming in early fall.

What Are the Best Performing Rhododendrons?

Best performing rhododendron varieties include the PJM Elite, Lee’s Dark Purple, Nova Zembla and Roseum Elegans. The PJM rhododendron is a smaller leafed variety that shows a purple flower in the spring and deep mahogany-purple leaf color through the winter months. The PJM has smaller blossoms, lower growth profile and is extremely winter hardy. The intials PJM stand for Peter J. Mezitt who was a pioneer in cross breeding rhododendron cultivars.

Caring for Azaleas and Rhododendron

Just like Uncle, azaleas and rhododendrons are acid lovers. Azaleas and rhododendron prefer well-drained soil. When planting, amend your soil with Max Mix, a blended natural compost to improve drainage and acidity in the soil. In areas, with poor drainage, a raised bed may be needed. Mulch with pine bark mulch, a naturally acidic mulch. Fertilize with Uncle’s Green Love, organic fertilizer, to give them the iron they need. Keep a soil test kit handy to check your soil’s acidity, and with a little extra effort up front, you can bring color and class to your shady spot.

More Related Articles to Azaleas & Rhododendron:

Uncle’s Root Accelerator – Keeping Plants Healthy

Uncle’s Max Mix – The Secret is in the Soil

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How to Fertilize for Healthy Trees and Shrubs

Guide to Planting Trees and Shrubs


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