Native Azaleas are a beautiful plant and are completely different from hybrid azaleas. There are thirteen different types of native azaleas that grow here in Georgia. This is a picture of one of mine. The variety is called the Florida azalea (Rhododendrum austrinum), even though it grows great in Georgia. It usually blooms in late March, but this year it bloomed in early April. The color has some variation between a dark yellow and a light orange with long reaching center filaments which are quite fancy. The best characteristic to me is the fragrance. It’s amazing. The scent is between a honeysuckle and a sweet olive, both of which are intoxicating. It is an understory plant and can take partial shade, which is a little surprising, since they can get quite large – over 10 feet. I planted this one, but I have several truly native azaleas that are growing on a creek bank voluntarily. The variety of those is the Piedmont azalea (Rhododendrum canescens) and they have a white and pink blossom. They bloom a little later than this Florida azalea so I’m looking forward to that in late April or May since everything is a little late this year. You can read more about native azaleas from the UGA extension publication HERE. Also, if you are local to West Georgia, you can visit the Lazy K nursery in Pine Mountain HERE.