Plain Gardening: Azaleas

Anytime is a great time to garden on the Gulf Coast, but THIS is SHOWTIME!

The azaleas are blooming, but not just any azaleas. Gardening expert Bill Finch says the most spectacular blooms come from our heritage plants: the Southern Indian Azalea.

Southern Indian Azaleas come in almost any color you can imagine—beautiful Daphne Pink, Daphne Red, President Clay, Fischer Pink, Judge Solomon, Formosa, Kissimmee, George Tabor, King’s White, and many more. These are names that Gulf Coast gardeners all used to know, because they are what made spring on the Gulf Coast so vibrant.

While not native, Southern Indian Azaleas have been around a long time; that’s a testament to how well they do here. They were introduced in the 1830s and really hit their stride in the 1920s. Mobile grew so many Southern Azaleas so well that other cities just gave up and folks came here to see them.

While many stores offer some sort of azalea, Bill says nothing else compares to Southern Indian Azaleas here. Ask for them at local nurseries…they’ll know what you’re talking about.

Don’t plant Southern Indians close to your house; these things get huge and you don’t want to fight them. Find a place with lots of room and let them do their spectacular thing.

Learn more on Bill’s radio show Sunday mornings from 9-11 on 106.5FM or email

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