All about Azalea – History, Meaning, Facts, Care & More

Azalea, the Royalty of the Garden, is a beautiful plant to keep in the garden or inside the house. The beautiful flower of Azalea is from the genus of Rhododendron and part of the Ericaceae family. However, Azalea is not actually a flower but a flowering shrub but it gives beautiful flowers all throughout the year. This one-flower stem is available in different colors such as white, pink, yellow, purple, red, and orange. It has five to six stamens in each blossom. The blooms can last for a long while, making it a very useful flower for all occasions and purposes.

The flowers of Azalea usually come in single, semi-double or double varieties. They have dark green leaves in an oval shape. The leathery texture of the leaves adds attraction to the bouquet. Growing this flowering shrub indoor is an easy chore because they prefer shaded areas and they only require moist soil and humid environment.

  • Azalea History

Most of the Azalea flowers that can be found today are recognized to be from the ancient group of flowering shrubs found millions of years ago. The plants were believed to have been cultivated by the monks and priests in the Buddhist monasteries. The seeds were the origin of the hundreds of Azalea hybrids available today.

In the Tang dynasty in 772 A.D., these flowers were included in the poems of Bai Juyi, a poet who was in love with Azaleas. He planted them in his own yard and he referred to its flowers as the “beauty amidst all flowers.” Azaleas in Japan were traditionally in two classes, Tsutsuji and Satsuki. In 1860, the Japanese Azalea appeared in Holland and became popular as one of the greenhouse plants throughout Europe, especially in Germany, France, England, and Belgium.

In North America, Azaleas are found in 26 species and more. Among the popular American Azaleas are Swamp Honeysuckle, Flame Azalea, and Fragrant Azalea. The first Azalea hybrid was created and planted in 1848 in Charleston, South Carolina.

In China, there was Chinese folklore about the origin of the flowers of Azalea. The king was assassinated and became a cuckoo. It sang in such a bitterly way that blood came out from its bill. The place where the blood dropped was where the Azalea bloomed, thus the legendary saying that the cuckoo dyed red the flowers of Azalea.

  • Azalea Meaning

The different colors of Azalea offer different meanings as well. There are lots of good qualities and representations that this flower symbolizes. It symbolizes femininity because of its soft colors and soft petals. It could also mean wealth and elegance, beauty, intelligence, and abundance. In some regions, when a person sends a bouquet of Azalea, it is meant to convey that the sender wishes her to take care of herself and to return to him the soonest. On the other hand, an arrangement in black flower vase would mean a death threat or danger.

On the other hand, the etymological meaning of the word Azalea came from the Greek word “azaleos” which means dry. This refers to the quick draining quality of the plant and the light soil it requires to grow and bloom abundantly.

  • Azalea Facts

Azaleas are loved all around the world because of its beautiful blooms and wide array of colors. It has been a native flower to Asia, America, and Europe. Growers and hybridizers are in love with the flowers not only to fill up the garden and front yards but also to have a lovely addition to the flower arrangements. The flowers of Azalea have been used to create unique and amazing bouquets for many reasons and for all occasions. In fact, there are 10,000 different cultivars created from the seeds of Azalea.

Growers also love this flowering shrub because they are easy to grow and they bloom in different seasons in such abundance. Although there are azaleas that are highly toxic, the Chinese Azalea has been used for its medicinal benefits. People in China use this flower as analgesic, sedative, and anesthetic. It can also be applied to the skin for the treatment of arthritis, itchiness, injuries, and maggots.

  • Azalea Care

Azalea, like a flowering shrub, requires a well-drained and humus-rich soil with a slight acidity. Mulch is also needed to keep the soil moist. This type of plant tends to dry out easily when not moistened most of the time. There are proper ways of mulching the plant and the local florist can help you with the procedures if you want to grow Azaleas in your garden. Once established, it can grow in shrub and produce more blooms throughout the year no matter what the season is.

Aside from the front yard, back yard, and gardens, this plant can also grow in pots and containers provided that they are placed in a cool and shady position. It grows well under the trees or under the roof. Fertilizing and pruning are optional but can be helpful in some ways. Many homeowners and gardeners love this plant because it can live for a long period of time and it can grow all its life to produce more flowers.

Springtime is the best time to enjoy the colorful flowers and shrubs of Azaleas. From floral bouquets to floral arrangements, the florists have the best types of Azaleas all year round. Send a bouquet of Azaleas to someone you want to wish good luck or to someone you want to greet on special days.