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Hot, hot, hot! Mt. St. Helens Deciduous Azalea erupts with an awe-inspiring floral display in late spring. This feisty Accent greets the balmy days of that sweet season with fabulous, fiery flowers that will turn heads. The blossoms’ colors are hard to describe—they change hue like cooling lava. One day the petals may be a rich coral-pink with orange-red highlights; another day they take on softer salmon tones with splashes of yellow-orange. The blooms give off a delightful fragrance, too. Plant Mt. St. Helens near a seating area or pathway so you and your guests can drink in its heady fragrance and bask in its glowing colors.
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. Mt. St. Helens is one such hybrid Azalea. The exact date of Mt. St. Helens Azalea’s origin isn’t clear, though it was presumably sometime after 1980, when the great Washington volcano erupted, spewing ash for hundreds of miles. It was developed at Girard Nurseries in Geneva, Ohio. This nursery, between Cleveland and Erie, Pennsylvania, has been a powerhouse for producing high-quality, hardy Azaleas.
But wait, there’s more! Many Deciduous Azaleas supply not only sensational spring flowers, but also striking fall color, and Mt. St. Helens is no exception. When nights turn frosty, this star takes the stage again, putting on a brilliant show of purple 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. To guard against this affliction, provide Mt. St. Helens Deciduous Azalea 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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