While they may look similar to the naked eye, there are different types of azaleas. And this has not only to do with the color of the flower, but also with other characteristics, which we will discuss in this article.
Furthermore, some precautions must be taken into account so that your plants are always healthy and beautiful. She read on and we will tell you more.
Features of the azalea
In Greek, the original meaning of the word azalea it is “dry” or “arid”, which referred to the type of soil in which it can grow. On the other hand, its scientific name is Rhododendron simsii.
In particular, it belongs to the family of ericaceous, together with heather and strawberry tree. Interestingly, this is a large family, with more than 3,000 species.
However, the different varieties of azaleas can be found almost throughout the northern hemisphere, both in Europe and Asia as well as in North America. And they have adapted to other environments as well.
As for its features, It is a medium sized shrub. It is slow growing. It can reach up to 3 and 4 meters in height, although some varieties do not exceed 50 centimetres. In any case, it depends on the place where it is planted and the type of azalea.
The leaves are dark green, about 3 to 5 centimeters long; the underside is scaly and sometimes with spots. They usually stay on the plant for quite some time, only dropping in winter.
Its flowering occurs in spring. The flowers are undoubtedly the most showy. They are bell-shaped or funnel-shaped. Its colors vary from white to red, passing through several pinks. There are also yellow and orange ones.
Due to the fact that hybridizations have been made with this plant, some varieties have been obtained in which the flowers become so abundant as to completely cover the leaves. For this reason it is cultivated for ornamental purposes, being one of the most used plants for decoration, both in gardens and indoors.
types of azaleas
There are many types of azaleas, including cultivable varieties and several species. These have been classified into two large groups: tsutsusi (originally from Asia) e penthanthera (from Europe and America).
1. Rhododendron calendulaceum
It is a typical species of the Appalachians (mountain range on the east coast of the United States, which reaches a part of Canada). It can grow more than 3 meters.
It is characterized by very showy flowers, between orange and red.. Even if in one investigation a variety identified in Virginia is known for having white flowers, with shades of pale pink or yellow edges.
2. Canadian rhododendron
This species also comes from North America, especially Canada, as the name suggests. It’s a shrub, a little smaller compared to the previous, since its maximum height is 120 centimeters. The flowers of this type of azalea are pink and appear as soon as spring begins.
3. Rhododendron canescens
It is common in the southeastern United States. It is also called mountain azaleas.
It is deciduous (its leaves fall when it reaches maturity). It can reach one and a half meters or up to three meters. Its flowers are pink, rarely white; and have very protruding pistils.
4. Rhododendron periclymenoides
known as pink azalea OR pinxter flower. It also comes from the eastern United States, which extends from Alabama to New Hampshire. Its height can vary between one and two meters. It usually thrives in dry places.
5. rhododendron viscosum
It is known as swamp azaleas, since, unlike the previous one, it tolerates humid places. However, it must have drainage so that standing water does not rot the roots.
It is also a shade-preferring species. It reaches two and a half meters. Blooms in early summer.
6. Rhododendron farrerae
Now we will get acquainted with some types of azaleas from the Asian continent. Let’s start with Rhododendron farreraeoriginally from China.
It is also deciduous, but short: no more than 60cm. Despite this, its flowers are large, pink to lilac in color.
7. rhododendron japonicum
He rhododendron japonicum OR pink azalea, Japanese azalea OR Japanese, It is a shrub of one to two meters, native to that country. The flowers, a few centimeters in diameter, are generally pink; in some varieties it reaches a red or magenta hue, which makes them very attractive.
8. rhododendron luteum
Among the different types of azaleas there are European varieties. Such is the case with Rhododendron luteum, from the southwest of the continent, although it is also found in Asia. It is quite tall, reaching up to four meters. the flowers are yellow.
9. Nice white rhododendron
It is a small plant, with white flowers and perennial, dark green leaves, which produce a vivid contrast. They are well suited to gardens. He prefers the shade.
10. Azalea rose bud
It is a variety produced for the first time in 1934from Japanese azalea kurume. It has the particularity of having double flowers, similar to rosebuds.
Its growth is slow; reaches up to 120 cm. It receives little sun and flowers in spring.
Care of different types of azaleas
When well cared for, these plants flower for quite some time.. Some varieties live up to seven years; others can go as high as 25.
But this will depend on the climate, the types of azaleas and the care that is given. Let’s see what should be taken into account.
azaleas will do reproduce by cuttings. They should be about 15 centimeters.
It is advisable, before planting them, to leave them in water for a while until the roots appear. Then they are placed in the ground, at a depth of 2 to 4 centimeters.
Most species can be planted in the garden or in pots, preferably clay, if they will be indoors. The best time to grow them is in the fall or spring.
earth and compost
They are favored by a rather acidic soil type. Peat and perlite can be used.
But the earth should not be compacted too much so that the water circulates and does not stagnate. If you are going to fertilize, it is advisable not to completely cover the root of the plant.
Most types of azaleas They need some sun, but not too much.. If they are to be grown outdoors, this detail must be taken into account and avoid being in a place where the light falls at noon.
Whatever the location, keep that in mind They are plants that suffer from the heat. So you have to ensure good air circulation. You should also be careful in frost.
Under normal conditions, especially during flowering periods, they need moderate watering, every other day or every three days. In summer it is possible to increase the frequency.
You need to water at the root, not the leaves or flowers. Water must be plentiful, but good drainage must be ensured so that it does not accumulate. Preferably rainwater or filtered water is used.
You need to take care of any parasites. It is possible for some to develop fungi that affect the leavessuch as rhododendron powdery mildew (Azalea microsphere).
This can be avoided by keeping enough space between plants for good circulation, keeping humidity below 50%, and placing the plant in light. You can also clean the leaves with alkaline water (pH 8 to 8.2), which helps make them uninhabitable for the spores.
Benefits and harms of different types of azaleas
There are different types of azaleas, as we have been able to verify. They have some characteristics in common: they are all aromatic plants that help purify the air. In this sense they fight bad odors and can even neutralize the smell of cigarettes.
Also, because they have such showy flowers, they are widely used in decoration, adding a touch of color to different rooms. Therefore, they are said to fill the environment with good energy.
On the other hand, it affects that in recent studies It should be noted that the variant luteus it is a rich source of flavonoids, essential oils and steroids. It would have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antibacterial properties.
However, some precautions must be taken, because if ingested they can be toxic. Consequentially, they should be kept away from children and petssince they can also affect dogs and cats, as indicated in the art research.
have also been reported cases of adults with poisoning for eating azalea flowers, presenting symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, abdominal discomfort, hypotension and bradycardia, due to the action of the plant’s grayanotoxins.
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