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Proceedings of the International Plant Propagator's Society

Vol. 43

The Production of Evergreen Azaleas in a Sub-Tropical Climate

Chris Bunker

pp: 114-116

It is often thought that Brisbane is too hot to grow Indica azaleas (Rhododendron). Our climate is subtropical with summer day temperatures averaging near 30C and winter day temperatures 15C. We are situated on a latitude of 27°S and have an average annual rainfall of 1150 mm (45 in.) which predominantly falls in the summer months.

This paper will outline how we have adapted this particular plant to our environment.


Careful matching of cultivar to environment is perhaps the key to success in any crop. In azaleas we look for the following traits for a successful cultivar:

  • Flower colour
  • Amount of flower
  • Flower of longevity and holding capacity
  • Number of flowers flushes in a year
  • Foliage colour
  • Growing habit of plant
  • Overall appearance
  • Resistance to diseases
  • Ability to propagate.

Our trials to access the above characteristics can quite of often take 2 to 3 years. One year is enough time to evaluate fully the potential of a new cultivar, as quite often the plant can perform above or

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