Q: I have a bush/shrub that I need to identify-I have been told it is a wild azalea. It has woody stalks, very similar to the 4 different varieties of azalea in my yard, but it sheds it’s leaves in the winter.
However, it is covered with clusters of light pink flowers very much like clusters of honeysuckle flowers. I trimmed it back at the end of the season last year-it was tall and gangly with almost no flowers.
A: Theresa Schrum replies: “From your description, this shrub sounds like the native Piedmont azalea (Rhododendron canescens).
Native azaleas are not evergreen like their Asian cousins. On the other hand, they become much larger, as large as a small tree and can be quite beautiful in the spring. However, just like their Asian evergreen cousins, they bloom on old wood so are best pruned right after they finish blooming or no later than mid June for the early blooming varieties.
There are at least eight different species of deciduous azaleas native to Georgia. Depending upon the species, they bloom from early April until mid/late August. For more information on native azaleas, contact the Georgia Native Plant Society.