Although they're called wild honeysuckle by old timers, native azaleas (like the evergreen Asian species) are of the genus Rhododendron. There are a number of native azalea species that thrive in the Tallahassee area, and we almost always have a good stock of them at Native Nurseries. Once established, they are very hardy in our area and require little care.
Most native azaleas bloom in the spring before their new foliage develops, this quality makes for a much more impressive show when the leafless branches erupt in masses of color unhindered by distracting foliage. It is a truly breathtaking sight! Most of them are also very fragrant. The pink blossoms of the Piedmont Azalea, Rhododendron canescens, are the first to be seen every year (sometimes as early as February) in varying shades from lightly blushed white to deep pink.
The Florida Flame Azalea, R. austrinum, comes next with blooms in shades of sunny yellow to deep gold, tangerine, or even apricot. Both of these species are very fragrant. We also carry the Alabama Azalea (white with a yellow throat), Hammock Sweet Azalea (pure white summer-blooming), Plumleaf Azalea (red-orange) and Oconee Azalea (shades of orange, salmon, yellow and pink).
Native azaleas thrive in part-sun to light shade. Pine tree shade works well; and the fallen, decomposing needles help keep the soil acid as well. Like other Rhododendrons, native azaleas prefer acid soil. Morning or late afternoon sun is also desirable, but full sun for the entire day (like in the center of a wide open lawn) is too stressful for native azaleas.