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The Allure of the Azalea

The Azalea, the national flower of Nepal, is suggested to have existed prior to its discovery by Dr. A. W. Chapman in the late 1860’s.  It is written that the plant has been mentioned in Chinese poetry dating back to 772 A.D., and has experienced a fascinating evolution in its over 1,200 year history.  Documented as having between seventeen to twenty-six variations in North America, the Azalea blooms in Florida between late February and earl April.  Preferring partial shade and well drained acidic soils, the Azalea is often referred to as wild Honeysuckle, Florida Honeysuckle, Florida Rhododendron, and Orange Azalea.  The deciduous plant is prone to a variety of pests and diseases including spider mites, lace bugs, leaf miners, Azalea caterpillars, petal blight, leaf and flower gall, and Mushroom Root Rot.