Azalea — Azaleas are flowering shrubs making up part of the genus Rhododendron. Originally azaleas were classed as a different genus of plant, but now they are recognised as two of the eight sub-genera of rhododendrons – subgenus Pentanthera (deciduous), and subgenus Titsushi (evergreen).
One major difference between azaleas and the rest of the rhododendron family is their size. Another is their flower growth; rhododendrons grow their flowers in stripers, while most azaleas have terminal blooms (one flower per flower stem). However, they have so many stems that during the flowering season they are a solid mass of colour. Azaleas are recognised by these flowers blooming all at once, in a showy display for a month or two in spring. The exception to this rule is a small group of azaleas which grow their flowers in tight terminal clusters.
Azaleas grow best in well-drained soil or in plant pots in a cool, shady position. Fertilizer is optional, although some species do need regular pruning.