Rhododendron Calendulaceum – the Flame Azalea
Not often seen in home landscaping or in gardens, the fiery orange blossoms of Flame Azalea are a real attention-grabber. Never seen this native member of the Rhododendron genus? Then gaze in astonishment at this beauty.
This picture was taken along the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina.
Now Flame Azalea varies in color yellow and apricot to orange to salmon to red. Here, for instance, is a spectacular photograph of a yellow Flame Azalea .
And here’s a photograph of a shrub with peach-colored flowers.
Finally, here is one of a deeply-colored Flame Azalea, ‘Mandarin Red.’ These blooms remain beautiful for weeks.1 In fall, foliage color is also attractive.
Although Flame Azaleas are usually seen along a mountain road, is it possible to purchase one commercially for landscaping your home? Happily, yes. Are special conditions required for survival and thriving of the flaming beauties? No-Flame Azaleas do best in USDA Zones 4 to 7. They prefer moist, rich, slightly acid soil and light dappled shade to mostly sunny. They do fairly well in clay soil.
Locating Your Flame Azalea
Are you willing to take on the intense orange color and relatively large size of the Flame Azalea, which at maturity can grow to a width of 15 feet?2 Planning and placement is key when landscaping with such a large shrub. Its girth is de-emphasized by planting the azalea near a larger structure, such as a house. When situated near your home, ample space needs to be provided for future growth; but take note: the Flame Azalea is not evergreen. Another suitable location for Flame Azaleas is at the entrance way to a large front yard, where it suggests similar warmth may be found within the home. Finally, azaleas are often used along the edge of a lawn surrounded by woods.
Other plants should be bold enough not to be overpowered. Many shades of yellow can be used to compliment the brilliant blooms of Flame Azalea. One way to make certain they won’t fail to be noticed is to plant larger flowers in large groups or smaller flowers in beds.
1. Eastern Plant Specialties – Flame Azalea
2. HGTV – Flame Azalea
References and Resources:
Sunlight Gardens – Rhododendron calendulaceum
United States National Arboretum – Azalea Questions and Answers
Images from pinterest and Advance image search by google (available for reuse unless credit specified)