Rhododendron Schlippenbachii or Royal Azalea
The royal azalea from Korea, Japan and Manchuria has leaves arranged in whorls of five, as a rule, and very fragant, pale rose to violetappearing in May. The leaves turn orange to crimson in the autumn. Though this azalea is winter hardy its blooms can be damaged by later spring frosts.
Azaleas are often planted in parks and gardens. Their most important ornamental feature is their early flowering, profusion of flowers and the wide range of colours, particularly shades of yellow. They are ideal for planting as solitary specimens, in groups or in mass plantings. Taller forms, such as Rhododendron ponticum, are best in groups, borders or j rows, lower forms in the rock garden. The Ghent azalea hybrids are the result of crossings made between several different species of rhododendron, and some of the double Ghent varieties were crossed with Rhododendron japonicum to produce the Rustica hybrids. The equally useful Mollis hybrids were originally selected from seedlings of Rhododendron japonicum and later from seedlings which resulted from a cross between Rhododendron japonicum and Rhododendron Rolle. All these hybrids are deciduous and very colourful.
Low-growing forms are generally less hardy than tall azaleas and should be planted in a sheltered position.