Botanically they are called Rhododendron but in South Africa they are still commonly called Azalea and for the purpose of this article they will be referred to as Azalea. The two most readily available varieties are: Azalea indica: These Azalea varieties have oval, pointed, dark- green leaves and the shoots are covered with small flattened hairs. These versatile flowering shrubs are one of the most desirable garden plants for a shady spot in the garden. They range in size from miniatures (30cm) all the way up to bushy specimens 2m in height. Flowers come in a variety of colours and shapes. They come in a stunning range of colours from pure white through light and dark pinks, purple, and deep red.

Azalea Kurume: These hardier Japanese Azaleas aren’t as freely available as their Indica cousins but are well worth planting when available. They are generally hardier and more compact.


Azaleas prefer cool conditions. Keep the roots cool especially during the hot summer months. Morning sun or dappled sun through trees are ideal for Azaleas. It is best to avoid afternoon sun. Do not plant Azaleas where they will get reflected heat from a wall, building or paved area. They are perfect for use in containers but it is best to avoid cement pots as they increase the alkalinity which Azaleas don’t like.


Dig a big enough hole depending on the size of the plant. Mix half the soil from the hole with acid compost as well as a hand full of bone meal and plant with this mix. Do not plant any deeper than the depth it was in the container.


Azaleas need regular feeding, we recommend feeding with Acid loving plant food for acid loving plants.


During hot weather, keep the plants and foliage moist, mulching around the root zone also helps to keep the roots cool. Azaleas have shallow roots therefore do not disturb the soil, but mulch well. After flowering give the plant a light trim. This helps to keep the plant in shape and encourages new growth.


Chlorosis: A nutrient deficiency that cause the leaves to change colour, mostly yellow with green veins. Rectify with Iron chelate as directed. Azaleas are really tough plants and aren’t that susceptible to pests or diseases. If you notice anything unusual come and see us and we will help you solve the problem.