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Like the ethereal aurora borealis that dances across the northern skies, the Northern Lights series of Azaleas, too, flashes its dazzling colors in cold-climate zones. Bred in Minnesota, this group of hardy Azaleas lets homeowners who deal with harsh winters enjoy the jewel-tone colors of these exquisite plants in their own gardens. Golden Lights is a particularly luminous selection, with gorgeous golden-yellow blossoms in spring that radiate pure sunshine. As a bonus, the blooms give off a fresh, sweet scent. Whether you live in a mild climate or one where winter temperatures drop to -30ºF, you can have success with this plant!
Deciduous Azaleas are the showboats of late spring, decadent Accents that offer delightful, funnel-shaped flowers in a rainbow of colors. Many of these are hybrid selections, carefully bred from among several different species from Asia and America. Golden Lights is one such hybrid Azalea. It is one product of a decades-long Azalea breeding program, started at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in the 1950s and initiated by Albert G. Johnson. Dr. Harold Pellett continued Johnson’s work, adding new colors to the line. Golden Lights’ parentage is a little murky, the mother plant being an unnamed Exbury seedling and the father unknown. It was introduced in 1986.
But wait, there’s more! Many Deciduous Azaleas supply not only sensational spring flowers but also striking fall color, and Golden Lights is no exception. When nights turn frosty, this star takes the stage again, putting on a brilliant show of bronze-red to red foliage.
How to Grow
Deciduous Azaleas aren’t hard to grow, but it can be a little tricky to keep them looking sharp throughout the season. One issue they have is powdery mildew, which doesn’t kill the plant, but leaves a white film on the foliage. Golden Lights Deciduous Azalea shows good resistance to powdery mildew. To further guard against this affliction, provide your plant with the best possible growing conditions. Avoid extremes—give it good light but no hot afternoon sun, moist but not soggy soil, good air circulation but no strong winds. In addition, the soil should be rich with organic matter, well-drained, and acidic. Mulch to conserve moisture.
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