Flame Azalea Shrub – Rhododendron calendulaceum
The flame azalea shrub stands upright and features big, beautiful vase-shaped flowers. Measuring between six feet to 12 feet tall and wide, this shrub has bright green foliage and yellow, orange and red flowers that grow in large clusters. The non-fragrant flowers bloom right before or at the same time as the leaves, which will fade to a yellow or red color in the autumn. This deciduous, ornamental shrub grows natively in the low areas of the southern Appalachians, blooming in late spring. It is one of 16 species that are native to America, Japan and China. Many other related varieties have been cultivated.
The slow-growing flame azalea thrives best in acid, dry, and rocky soil. As a perennial, this shrub enjoys moist, well-drained soil in partial shade. It is one of the few plants that prefers shade to sun and thrives in such conditions. New plants require careful pruning to look their best as well as reduce disease issues and pest problems in the long run. The flame azalea does well in hardiness zones six to nine.
Planting flame azaleas is best performed in the spring months but can also be done in fall. The flame azalea shrub is easy to grow in reasonable conditions, requiring very little, if any, fertilizing. With its shallow roots, this shrub can grow well under pine trees and in other shady areas. The leaves from the trees providing the shade actually provides all the fertilization, minerals and nutrients that the flame azalea requires.
Gardeners use the flame azalea for mass plantings, and many gardeners find that planting the shrubs in containers works well. Beautiful blooms last nearly two weeks, making the shrub a beautiful addition to any landscape. Flowers attract a wide variety of birds, beneficial insects and bumble bees to the area.