The Amazing Azaleas of the New York Botanical Garden
The New York Botanical Gardens Azalea Garden is an absolute encyclopedia of azaleas. The eleven acre garden contains 3,000 azaleas and rhododendrons, all part of the heath family (Ericaceae). Nature puts on a dazzling show in a multitude of colors including pink, mauve, purple, red orange and yellow.
Photo courtesy of New York Botanical Garden
The azaleas are at their peak in late April and early May. Nestled among sixty majestic ancient oaks, the azaleas meander their colorful way across the garden in beautiful, natural waves of flowers, the loosely branched shrubs being allowed to follow a free-flowing pattern. There are also more than 40,000 bulbs, 28,000 woodland perennials and 3,000 trees and shrubs in the garden, but the azaleas are the star of the show in any spring garden, with bright clusters of showy blooms. A one-mile pathway weaves through this enchanted spring paradise, and azaleas abound. The NYBG azalea collection highlights the diversity of this plant group. The collection originated with plants gathered in the mountains of North Carolina, and evolved to include species from around the world, including Korea, China, the Caucasus Mountains and Japan.
The prime time to see the Garden is during Mother's Day weekend, but due to the pandemic you may want to check availability prior to setting your plans. Another great option is to do a virtual tour of the Azalea Collection. You can also follow along the blooming of azaleas with the Garden’s Azalea Tracker.
Is your garden crying for a splash of color? ShrubBucket has dozens of hardy and beautiful varieties of azalea and rhododendron available. Dense and showy Blaauw's Pink, gorgeous pink and white "ribbon candy," spectacular "lemon lights", with delicately lemon scented yellow flowers—azaleas come in a rainbow of colors, and make a gorgeous addition to any garden. Our azalea collection will spark your imagination and add a classic touch to your plantings. We can assist you with selecting the perfect azalea, or you can also see these helpful guides from the American Rhododendron Society:
- NY, NJ and Southern CT: Recommended azaleas
- VA, WV, MD and DC: Recommended azaleas
- IL, IN, MI, OH, WI, KS, AR and OK: Recommended azaleas
- MA, ME, VT, NH, RI & Northern CT: Recommended azaleas
Plant azalea shrubs in spring, in cool, lightly shaded areas. (Full sun can burn, especially if you're planting in the southern states, while heavy shade can cause oxygen deprivation). Azaleas need well drained, acidic soil (Ph. between 5.0 and 6.0). They also grow well in containers. Plant at the same soil depth as the nursery container, as planting too deeply can cause crown rot. Water deeply immediately after planting, then cover the topsoil with a thin layer of mulch. Learn more about azaleas with these helpful guides from the New York Botanical Garden:
- Anne Rodriguez