The question of when azaleas bloom is of such great interest to gardeners that there are entire webpages devoted to it because this popular landscape shrub is blanketed in color when it blooms, becoming a focal point for which you want to plan. There are, however, several types of azaleas, both deciduous and evergreen, and some cultivars bloom only in summer.
Azaleas do not bloom all summer. They are usually categorized into those that bloom early, midseason, or late, but even if the plant is a late variety that blooms in summer or fall, it will not bloom continuously all summer.
Azaleas and Rhodies Are All Rhododendrons
Azaleas (Rhododendron spp., USDA hardiness zones 5 to 9 depending on the variety) are all within the genus Rhododendron, so it's not a surprise that they resemble their mostly larger cousins. However, most azalea flowers have just five or six stamens, while most rhodies have 10. Further, azalea leaves are generally slimmer and more pointed with a less leathery texture.
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Azaleas have attracted legions of fans over the centuries, with breeders developing over 10,000 different varieties over time. They fall broadly into two groups: deciduous azaleas, which are in the subgenus Pentanthera, and evergreen types in the subgenus Tsutsusi. In North America, all species azaleas (not those that have been specifically hybridized) are considered "native azaleas" and are the deciduous type, meaning that their leaves drop off in the fall and regrow in the spring. These are not the most common azaleas you'll find in a nursery, and they can look quite different from the plant you know and love, having an upright growing habit instead of growing in mounds.
Evergreen azaleas are the most common grown type in the United States. They are native to Japan and feature pink, white, red, deep maroon, or purple. If you are looking at a yellow-blooming azalea, it will definitely be a deciduous type, however, as the evergreen varieties are never yellow.
Azalea Bloom Time
Whether they are evergreen or deciduous, the most commonly grown azaleas put on their impressive display in spring, but you can enjoy azalea blooms for eight months of the year if you plan your plantings carefully. The vast majority of azaleas do not rebloom, so no azalea will bloom all summer or produce continuous blooms across many weeks.
Azaleas are categorized as blooming either early, in midseason, or late. The early blooming varieties can flower as early as mid-February and go until March. The midseason types bloom in April to June, while the late-season plants bloom from July to September. Remember that each variety will bloom for a few weeks, and that's all. None will bloom continuously throughout the entire season's blooming period. The University of Georgia maintains a flowering sequence chart identifying the bloom time of various varieties, and the Azalea Society of America is also a good resource for specific bloom times.
If you want azaleas that bloom in summer, you will not be disappointed. One variety is the plumleaf azalea (R. prunifolium), a deciduous type that can reach 10 feet tall, although it is a slow grower, as are all deciduous varieties. A well-known hybrid series, the Encore azalea has been bred to rebloom in summer after its spring bloom and includes multiple cultivars.
- Farmington Gardens: Evergreen Azaleas
- Azalea Society of America: Azalea Bloom Times
- Azalea Society of America: Learn About Azaleas – In Their Many Varieties
- Weston Nurseries: Azaleas, Evergreen and Deciduous
- University of Georgia Extension: Selecting and Growing Azaleas
- Azalea Society of America: Encore Azaleas