Rhododendron austrinum, or the Florida Azalea, is native to Florida and parts of the southeastern United States. It usually grows as a single large shrub, typically 5-10ft tall, or a small shrub, 2-5ft tall. This evergreen plant can also be used for bonsai as it has attractive glossy foliage and stunning yellow, orange flowers, which are very fragrant and attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds.
Rhododendron austrinum is best grown in USDA Zone 9-11, in an area of full sun exposure with regular water. It can also tolerate partial shade, but the blooming will be minimized for this condition. When grown in cooler regions, such as Northern climates, growing the Rhododendron austrinum in a protected area and in a pot is highly recommended. to increase its chances of survival, place the pot in a sunny area, such as a sheltered porch or a heated greenhouse, and water frequently. A well-draining potting soil should be used.
When exiting dormancy, Rhododendron austrinum requires higher levels of water than usual. To prevent flower bud aborting in cooler climates, place a protective layer of mulch around the plant in the fall and refrain from pruning plants.
In summary, Rhododendron austrinum, or the Florida Azalea is an evergreen shrub with attractive glossy foliage and stunning yellow, orange flowers, which are very fragrant and attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds. It grows best in full sun, with regular water, in USDA Zone 9-11, especially when grown in a pot in cooler regions. When exiting dormancy, Rhododendron austrinum needs higher levels of water and a protective layer of mulch needs to be placed around the plant in the fall to prevent flower bud aborting.