Azalea – Sport of Different Color

Q: Do azaleas change color from when they are young to when they mature? I think some of mine have done this. Lou J.

A: Azaleas do occasionally sprout a “sport”: a branch having different flower color from the parent shrub. Sometimes the sport’s flowers are an improvement; sometimes they are plain-looking and not worth keeping. Astute gardeners look for interesting sports and propagate them. Such is true of the popular ‘George L. Taber’ azalea. It is a sport of the reddish-pink flowered ‘Omurasaki’ azalea. Dr. Harold Hume, while working at the Glen Saint Mary nursery in Florida, spotted the light pink flower with its dark pink blotch and named it for his employer. Observe and propagate your sport for a few years. Maybe we’ll eventually be treated to ‘Lou’s Beauty’!

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