Clematis is a genus of over 200 species of twining leaf-climbers and woody-based perennials. More than 400 mainly large-flowered cultivars are in cultivation. Clematis are grown for their abundant flowers, often followed by decorative, filamentous, silvery gray seed heads. They are valued for their long flowering period, and for the variety of shape and color of their flowers.
Deciduous Azaleas are often the forgotten member of the Rhododendron family, as they really don’t fit the general profile of the group. You’ve probably seen their incredible floral displays of oranges, yellows and reds. They can be confusing because they look like an azalea flower, but the plant looks very different. These plants are very tough and versatile (much more so than the evergreen types), and make a valuable addition to your landscape.
Usually much warmer colors than evergreen azaleas, deciduous types are famous for their orange and yellow tones. Also available are reds and whites, with many intermediate tones such as peach and apricot. Deciduous azaleas are also very good at producing bi-colored blooms, often red and white, or several differing shades fading together. As the number of hybrids increase, so does the color range.
Azaleas thrive best in full to partial sun and well-drained, non-compacted acidic soil. Root rot is the most common problem they face when the soil becomes too moist. This plant needs minimal pruning, but make sure to perform this step right after the plant blooms as to prevent cutting off next year’s bud. Also, fertilize in the spring and add a shot of phosphorus in the fall.
Evergreen azaleas are a large subgroup of rhododendrons so broad that they are often treated as a separate group altogether. They tend to be smaller shrubs than regular rhododendrons, with much smaller, glossier leaves. Evergreen azaleas usually bloom in reds, pinks, and whites. Azaleas can be used as small hedges, topiaries, bonsai, or border shrubs.
Evergreen azaleas need partial shade. This will probably be one of the most critical things you do that will determine the success of your plants. Be sure that there is protection from hot afternoon sun. Too hot of an area can kill an azalea quickly. Try to keep them out of areas with reflected heat, and locations they may receive a lot of wind, as this can dry the foliage out quickly. Drainage is also an important factor as azaleas will not do well in waterlogged areas.
For the first year or two, water will be very important in establishing your azaleas. While this is true for all plants, azaleas tend to suffer a bit more from lack of water than others, especially in the hot summer months. The water issue will be even more important if your plants are planted in late spring or summer.
Avoid fall pruning, and be sure to fertilize in the spring. Evergreen azaleas are best sheared right after bloom to shape and compact. They don’t take severe pruning as well as regular Rhododendrons though. Fertilize in the spring after the frost is over with an acidic fertilizer. Fertilizing in late summer or fall will encourage tender new growth that will not usually survive through the first few freezes.