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Precious! Rosebud Azalea is pretty as a picture in late spring with its charming, clear pink blossoms. With their double petals, the blooms really do look like rosebuds when they appear. As they unfurl, the frilly flowers cover every inch of the plant’s compact framework. Rosebud is one of the latest of the semi-evergreen Azaleas to bloom, generally starting in May and coinciding with White Fringe Tree and Rutgers Hybrid Dogwoods, such as Celestial®. Plant this beauty underneath one of these stunning trees for a vignette you’ll look forward to seeing outside your window each year.
Joseph Gable, born in 1886, grew up on his family’s farm in Pennsylvania—just north of the Maryland border and 40 miles from Baltimore. After returning from World War I in 1919, Gable resumed farming, but he soon lost interest in growing potatoes and hay and developed a new passion—breeding Azaleas. He threw himself into his work, developing scores of novel plants for the public to enjoy. Between 1927 and 1972, he introduced 164 fine new Azaleas. Joe Gable crossed two of his previous introductions, Louise Gable and Caroline Gable, to produce Rosebud Azalea in 1938.
One issue that Azaleas sometimes face is Azalea lace bug, an insect pest that causes stippling of the leaves and weakening of the plant. According to research out of Virginia, Rosebud is one variety that shows strong resistance to Azalea lace bug attacks. Choosing selections with built-in resistance is the most effective and least toxic way to deal with these troublesome pests.
How to Grow
Azaleas appreciate a little pampering. They thrive when shielded from hot summer sun and given moist but well-drained, acidic soil. They never like to dry out but don’t care for soggy conditions, either. Azaleas can “burn” from harsh chemical fertilizers, so feed with a gentle organic product like Bower & Branch Elements™ Fertilizer. If pruning is needed, do it immediately after blooming, as next year’s flower buds are formed in summer. Of all the Azaleas on the market, Rosebud is one of the most adaptable. It is hardy to -10ºF (possibly colder) and can be successfully grown in many parts of the country.
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