Azaleas are a part of the rhododendron genus and can be distinguished from rhododendrons mostly by leaf characteristics and the number of stamens on the flower. Most azaleas have five or 6 stamens whereas most rhododendrons have 10 stamens.
Annual flowers complete their lifecycle in one growing season. Perennial flowers live for more than three years but have a short blooming season. Since azaleas bloom year after year, they are considered perennials.
The Azalea Society of America notes that azaleas are hardy plants that may grow for several hundred years if their basic growing requirements are met. Don't let the size of a plant fool you into thinking it's older; some azaleas may only grow up to a few feet high.
There are several thousand varieties of azaleas, according to the Azalea Society of America. Azaleas are available in both a deciduous and evergreen variety. Deciduous azaleas normally have larger leaves than evergreen azaleas. Depending upon the exact azalea, azaleas may bloom April through May or August through September in the United States.
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