Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Azalea indica 'Alphonse Anderson'

Azalea indica 'Alphonse Anderson'

This Azalea is one of the big three which start to flower about now .The others being 'Alba Magna' (pure white) and 'Magnifica' (magenta or rosy purple) Usually you see them in older homes happily growing in the middle of a lawn or garden bed without any obvious watering or attention. I like the white best of all because it is a real blinding snow white .After flowering however, you are left with a fairly ordinary looking shrub usually with leaves affected by red spider mite and other pests. This is the reason they have fallen from favour somewhat.This is a pity because they are such reliable and hardy shrubs. I think the best way to treat them is as topiary and shear them within an inch of their lives. The Japanese do this to the 'Kurume' type Azaleas but the larger types like 'Alphonse' respond well to this treatment as well.

Azaleas in foreground at Japanese Garden, Mt Cootha Botanic Gardens, Brisbane in winter

Propagation by marcotting at Bali Botanic Gardens.
2017 update: there has been a lot more interest in growing these old fashioned style Azaleas in recent years. If you have the patience it is worth starting out with a single stemmed small plant so you have the option of training it as a standard or keeping it close clipped with cloud pruning

1 comment:

  1. I have tried buying Alphonse today and left the nursery with Charley - it is a bright pink colour with a low growing habit.
    Let's hope it all goes well...