When do the azaleas bloom at Brookgreen Gardens?
Every year in the spring our phones ring and our social media fills up with the question "when are the azaleas going to bloom?" Everyone wants to make sure they come on the day that they will get the biggest show from the azaleas, who can blame them they are beautiful!
There are numerous azalea varieties available in South Carolina. The ones that people love and give such a beautiful show are the evergreen azalea called Southern indica Hybrid azalea, Rhododendron indicum. This is a popular cultivar in the south which has large leaves and flowers, but are native to Japan - even though the name indica means ‘of India’. They are vigorous, upright growers that can reach heights of 7 to 10 feet. Popular varieties include ‘Formosa’ (magenta), ‘Mrs. G.G. Gerbing (white), ‘George L. Tabor’ (orchid pink), ‘Judge Solomon’ (light pink to coral), and ‘Pride of Mobile’ (rose pink). The blooming period normally begins in late March and goes through mid-April. Of course, the weather each winter and spring can vary greatly, which makes it hard to predict the exact day and time of their ‘grandest show’!
This year we have had a relatively warm January and February, and a warm spring so they could be in full bloom late March and early April. We have some protected areas that are beginning to bloom already.
The Indica azaleas are planted throughout the gardens, from our entrance corridor to the back wall of the garden. But we also have some native azaleas with a heavy planting in our Rosen Carolina Terrace. Many of the deciduous azalea species are native to South Carolina. The Rosen Carolina Terrace has many Piedmont azaleas (R. canescens), this large shrub grows 10 to 15 ft tall and wide. The fragrant flowers range from white to pink to rose, blooming from late March to late April. These flowers are also in a tubular form with beautiful large buds.
The other deciduous azalea in the garden is in the Peace Garden Room for Children. There is a large specimen of a Florida flame azalea (R. austrinum) behind the sculpture of Sunflowers by Charles Cropper Parks. The Florida flame azalea is very heat tolerant and has beautiful flowers that are gold with shades of orange and fragrant! Gold is not a color we expect to see in an azalea, and it is beautiful!
I hope this has been helpful on choosing a time to see our azaleas. Keep an eye on the weather in this area and I am sure you will want to come see us often to experience the many interesting and beautiful things Brookgreen has to offer!
Ever Changing, Simply Amazing!