Azaleas In The Philadelphia Area
William F. Steele, West Chester, Pennsylvania
"The temperature is -10° F. with a wind chill factor of -40 to -50° F. Most Linwood's do not do well out here". This was a response to a recent survey conducted by the Azalea Study Group representing the ARS chapters in the Philadelphia region. This survey resulted in an almost complete cataloging of the azaleas being grown in the Philadelphia area and a listing of "The Most Highly Rated Azaleas in the Philadelphia Area".
The Azalea Study Group is a committee composed of those members of the Valley Forge, Philadelphia, and Pine Barrens chapters who have a special interest in azaleas. In addition to holding meetings to share information, they have been involved in the study and evaluation of azaleas, the development of display and test gardens, an annual evergreen cutting exchange, an occasional deciduous cutting exchange, and an azalea flower show.
The survey mentioned earlier was one of the projects undertaken two years ago. It was the study group's intention to have the membership of all three chapters list and evaluate the azaleas they are growing. An initial attempt, a form on which the members were asked to enter the names of the azaleas, then evaluate them, proved unsuccessful.
The study group felt better results might be obtained if the members were provided with a list of azaleas and could select the plants they wanted to rate. Subsequently, the members in the three chapters were asked to submit a list of the azaleas they have been growing in their gardens for three or more years. The results of this request, an almost complete listing of azaleas growing in this area, was submitted to the membership. In spaces provided to the right of each name, they were instructed to rate the flower and plant habit on a scale from 1 to 5. These results were used to determine the ranking of "The Most Highly Rated Azaleas in the Philadelphia Area".
Although the response to the final evaluation was better than the initial one, it was not possible to do a formal statistical evaluation of the results. Therefore, the listing of "The Most Highly Rated Azaleas in the Philadelphia Area" could be subject to as light reorganization if the results were interpreted differently. The most significant achievement of this project was an almost complete listing of azaleas currently growing in the Philadelphia area.
The Philadelphia area was considered to extend as far north as Reading, Pennsylvania and as far south as Linwood, New Jersey, roughly within a sixty mile radius of Philadelphia.
The U.S.D.A. Plant Hardiness Zone Map places the Philadelphia region in Zone 6b to 7a with average annual minimum temperatures of -5 to 5° F. The lowest temperatures occur in the northern and western sections. Usually the temperatures do not reach these lows. However, there are occasional years when the temperature drops below these averages. In January 1984 there were four consecutive days of below zero weather. During this period the lowest official temperature recorded in the western suburbs was -16° F. That particular morning one of the members living north of Reading thought his thermometer was broken when it read -24° F! Upon buying a new thermometer, he found it read the same as his old one. Most plants on the list of azaleas in the Philadelphia area lived through that cold spell; most of the buds did not.
Not all the plants on the list are hardy in the northern and western sections. Even within a few miles of Philadelphia, some plants struggle and only reward their growers with a sparse bloom after an occasional mild winter. Some of the Linwoods will not grow in the northern and western sections, although 'Hardy Gardenia' has proven itself to be dependable in all sections. The Carlas on this list usually will not produce a complete bloom.
Azaleas in this section bloom from April 10 until the end of June. The blooming periods are considered to be: early, April 10 to May 5; mid season, May 5 to May 20; and late, May 20 to June 30. The peak period of bloom is from May 10 until May 25. The late blooming azaleas are the Robin Hills, Satsukis, and North Tisburys, some of these occasionally lasting into July. There are three fall blooming azaleas in the area, 'Opal', 'Indian Summer', and August to Frost (a single white we are still evaluating). These usually bloom from late September until frost.
Until recently the average gardener's choice at local garden centers was limited to 'Delaware Valley White', 'Hino Crimson', 'Hinodegiri', 'Hershey's Red', 'Coral Bells,' tradition', and 'Purple Splendor' or 'Herbert'. There is now a trend for the larger, better quality garden centers to carry a greater selection of plants. It is possible for the average gardener to find nearly 100 varieties available by shopping at different garden centers. Selections from the Glenn Dales, Robin Hills, Girards, North Tisburys, Gables, Shammarellos, Linwoods, and Satsukis are now available. It is even possible to buy unusual plants such as 'Silver Sword', Chinsayi*, 'Kaempo', R. vaseyi, R. schlippenbachii, R. prunifolium, and R. periclymenoides. One progressive garden center is adding ten new varieties per year. One of the large growers in the area is now growing 'Hardy Gardenia' as his basic white azalea. The average gardener may never be able to select all the azaleas from the list of "Azaleas Growing in the Philadelphia Area", but his options are increasing.
* Chinsayi: A shiny leaf compact dwarf that faithfully covers itself with 2½" pink blossoms. Mrs. Julian Hill obtained it from Dr. Rokujo's garden. For lack of a better description we have listed it as Rokujo's to distinguish it from the Satsuki hybrid 'Chinsayi' (synonym Hana Fubuki).
Azaleas Growing In The Philadelphia Area Species-Evergreen R. amoenum R. kiusianum pink R. nakaharai R. kiusianum R. macrosepalum R. nakaharai 'Mt. Seven Star' R. kiusianum 'Album' 'Linearifolium' Seigai R. poukhanense Back Acres 'Cora Brandt' 'Marian Lee' 'White Jade' 'Debonaire' 'Pat Kraft' 'Margaret Douglas' 'Target' Beltsville Dwarfs 'Orchid Belle' 'Pink Elf' 'Rose Elf' Chisolm-Merritt 'Isabel Chisolm' 'Kiska' 'Ohio' Carla-Cochran, Stadtherr University Of North Carolina 'Elaine' 'Jane Spalding' 'Sunglow' 'Emily' 'Pink Cloud' Gable # 46G 'Indian Summer' 'Maryann' 'Apple Jack' J3G 'Mildred Mae' 'Barbara Hille' 'James Gable' 'Olive' 'Big Joe' 'Jessie Coover' 'Polaris' 'Billy' 'Jimmy Coover' 'Purple Splendor' 'Boudoir' 'Judy' 'Rose Greeley' 'Campfire' 'Kathleen' 'Rosebud' 'Carol' 'La Roche' 'Royalty' 'Caroline Gable' 'Lorna' 'Springtime' 'Corsage' 'Louise Gable' 'Stewartstonian' 'Elizabeth Gable' 'Mable Zimmerman' 'Viola' F6C 'Margie' 'Yorktown' 'Herbert' 'Mary Dalton' Girard 'Custom White' 'Girard's Pink' 'Mitey White' 'Dorothy Woodworth' 'Girard's Purple' 'Pink Dawn' 'Girard's Border Gem' 'Girard's Rose' 'Pleasant White' 'Girard's Chiara' 'Girard's Ruby' 'Red Stem' 'Girard's Crimson' 'Girard's Salmon' 'Renee Michelle' 'Girard's Fuchsia' 'Girard's Scarlet' 'Roberta' 'Girard's Hot Shot' 'Kathy Ann' 'Sandra Ann' 'Girard's Large Pink' 'Leslie's Purple' 'Unsurpassable' (#606) Glenn Dale 'Aladdin' 'Ember' 'Oriflamme' 'Allure' 'Eucharis' 'Parade' 'Ambrosia' 'Everest' 'Paradise' 'Anchorite' 'F.C. Bradford' 'Pearl Bradford' 'Angela Place' 'Fairy Bells' 'Peerless' 'Antique' 'Fashion' 'Peter Pan' 'Aphrodite' 'Fawn' 'Pinkie' 'Arcadia' 'Festive' 'Pirate' 'Aviator' 'Gaiety' 'Polar Sea' 'Aztec' 'Geisha' 'Presto' 'Bacchante' 'Glacier' 'Progress' 'Baroque' 'Glamour' 'Prudence' 'Boldface' 'Greeting' 'Quakeress' 'Bo-peep' 'Gypsy' 'Quest' 'Bountiful' 'Harlequin' 'Red Bird' 'Bravo' 'Helen Close' 'Refrain' 'Buccaneer' 'Illusion' 'Refulgence' 'Campfire' 'Jamboree' 'Romance' 'Captivation' 'Joker' 'Rose Ash' 'Carmel' 'Joya' 'Sagittarius' 'Carnival' 'Kathleen' 'Samite' 'Cavalier' 'Killarney' 'Samson' 'Chloe' 'Lacquer' 'Sarabande' 'Content' 'Leonore' 'Scherzo' 'Copperman' 'Lillie Maude' 'Seneca' 'Cordial' 'Louise Dowdle' 'Serenity' 'Corsair' 'Lullaby' 'Shimmer' 'Corydon' 'Madrigal' 'Silver Cup' 'Cranford' 'Manhattan' 'Silver Lace' 'Cupid' 'Marmora' 'Silver Mist' 'Cygnet' 'Martha Hitchcock' 'Silver Moon' 'Darling' 'Mary Margaret' 'Snowclad' 'Dauntless' 'Masquerade' 'Souvenir' 'Dawning' 'Mayflower' 'Surprise' 'Dayspring' 'Megan' 'Swansong' 'Delight' 'Melanie' 'Swashbuckler' 'Delilah' 'Merlin' 'Tango' 'Delos' 'Moonbeam' 'Treasure' 'Desire' 'Moonstone' 'Velvet' 'Dragon' 'Morning Star' 'Vestal' 'Dream' 'Mother of Pearl' 'Vision' 'Driven Snow' 'Muscadine' 'Wavelet' 'Effective' 'Niagara' 'Zulu' 'Elizabeth' 'Nocturne' Indicum-Macrantha 'Balsaminiflorum' 'Macrantha' 'Macrantha Red' 'Flame Creeper' 'Macrantha Flora Plena' 'Macrantha' (Dr. Pilling) 'J.T. Lovett' 'Macrantha Pink' 'Polypetalum' Kaempferi 'Annamaria' 'Fedora' 'Libby' (North Tisbury) 'Atlanta' 'Glow Worm' 'Mikado' 'Betty' 'John Cairns' 'Othello'(Dusty Pink) 'Cleopatra' 'Kathleen' 'White Lady' 'Corinna Borden' (North Tisbury) King 'King's Crimson' 'King's Luminous Pink' 'King's Pink' 'King's Double Red' 'King's Orange-Red' 'King's Purple' Kurume - Original 'Apple Blossom' 'Hino-crimson' 'Salmon Beauty' 'Bridesmaid' 'Hinode' 'Snow' 'Coral Bells' 'Hinodegiri' 'Sweet Briar' 'Exquisite' 'Otome' 'Ward's Ruby' 'Hatsu-shimo' 'Pink Pearl' Kurume - Other 'Addy Wery'(Ouden) 'Hershey's Pink' 'Red Progress' (de Wilde) 'Blaauw's Pink' 'Hershey's Red' 'Salmon Spray' 'Eleanor Allen' Hershey's 'Wood's White' 'Sherwood Cerise' 'Hahn's Red' 'Little Beauty' 'Sherwood Red' Hershey's 'Janny' 'May Glory'(de Wilde) 'Sherwoodii' Hershey's 'Memorial Day' 'Mother's Day' 'Tradition' 'Hershey's Orange' 'Pink Pearl' x 'Coral Bells' Linwood 'Bess Hallock' 'Garden State White' 'Opal' 'Carol Kitchen' 'Hardy Gardenia' 'Orchid Beauty' 'Dimsdale' 'James Dunlop' 'Peach Fuzz' 'Dr. Curtis Alderfer' 'Janet Rhea' 'Pink Pincushion' 'Dr. Franklin West' 'Linwood Blush' 'Reid's Red' 'Edward M. Boehm' 'Linwood Charm' S-18 'Emma Reid' 'Linwood Lavender' S-8 'Evelyn Hart' 'Linwood Lustre' 'Salmon Pincushion' 'Garden State Garnet' 'Linwood Pink' 'Slim Jim' 'Garden State Glow' 'Linwood Salmon' 'Tiny' 'Garden State Pink' 'Linwood White' 'Victoria Hohman' 'Garden State Red' 'Mary Elizabeth' 'White Squatter' 'Garden State Salmon' O-23 North Tisbury 'Alexander' 'Lady Locks' 'Pink Pancake' 'Andante' 'Late Love' 'Red Fountain' 'Eiko-san' 'Louisa' 'Susannah Hill' 'Gabrielle Hill' 'Marilee' 'Trill' 'Hot Line' 'Matsuyo' 'Wintergreen' 'Jeff Hill' 'Michael Hill' 'Yaye' 'Joseph Hill' 'Midori' 'Yuka' Robin Hill 'Antoine' 'Gwenda' 'Redmond' 'Betty Anne Voss' 'Jeanne Weeks' 'Red Tip' 'Betty Layman' 'LaBelle Hélène' 'Robin Hill Frosty' 'Blue Tip' 'Lady Louise' 'Robin Hill Gillie' 'Congo' 'Lady Robin' 'Sara Holden' 'Conversation Piece' 'Laura Morland' 'Scott Gartrell' 'Dorothy Hayden' 'Maria Derby' 'Sherbrook' 'Dorothy Rees' 'Mme Mab Chalon' 'Sir Robert' 'Early Beni' 'Mrs. Emil Hager' 'Spink' 'Elsa' 'Mrs. Villars' 'Verena' 'Eunice Updike' 'Nancy of Robin Hill' 'Watchet' 'Glamora' 'Papineau' 'Wee Willie' 'Glencora' 'Pat Erb' 'Welmet' 'Gresham' 'Peg Huggar' 'White Head' 'Greta' 'Peter Pooker' 'White Moon' Gartrell - Numbered O46-1 T39-6 U12-4 R55-2 Ryukyu 'Amethystinum' 'Indica Rosea' 'Magnifica' 'Delaware Valley White' 'Koromo Shikibu' 'Maxwell' 'Indica Alba' 'Lilacina' 'Narcissiflorum' Satsuki 'Aikoki' 'Gyokushin' 'Kagetsu' 'Amagasa' 'Heiwa' 'Kokoku' 'Banka' 'Higasa' 'Mai Hime' 'Beni Kirishima' 'Hoko' 'Sakuragata' 'Bunka' 'Horaku' 'Shinnyo no Tsuki' 'Gunbi' 'Issho No Haru' 'Tai Fuki' 'Gunrei' 'Joga' 'Wakaebisu' Gumpo Sports 'Gumpo Pink' 'Gumpo Variegated' 'Peppermint' 'Gumpo Red' 'Gumpo White' Shammarello 'Desiree' 'Helen Curtis' 'May Belle' 'Elsie Lee' 'Marie's Choice' 'Red Red' Yerkes - Pryor or Beltsville or USDA 'Eureka' 'H.H. Hume' 'Polar Bear' 'Frosty' 'Mithra' 'White Cloud' 'Guy Yerkes' 'Placid' Vuyk + Feldyk 'Double Beauty' 'Johann Strauss' 'Vuyk's Rosyred' 'Johann Sebastian Bach' 'Palestrina' 'Vuyk's Scarlet' Miscellaneous And Any Possibly Misnamed 'Anna Kehr' (Kehr) 'Kaempo' (Fowle) 'Rain Fire' (Harris) 'Arctic Flame' (Herbert) 'Karen' Red Rose Elf (Hohman) 'Ben Morrison' (Morrison) 'Madame Butterfly' (Deerfield) 'Red Ruffles' 'Chichibu' (Wada) May Night 'Redwing' (Belgian Indian) 'Chinsayi' (Rokujo) 'Mike Bullard'(Penn) Rose Red 'Coral Queen' (Pride) 'Miss Susie' (Wheeldon) Sanderi 'Frostburg' (Yates) Nakaharkensia #3 'Sherwood Red' x 'Gumpo' 'Gee Gee' 'Oh My' 'West's Superba' (West) 'Hexe' (Belgian Indian) 'Peggy Ann' (Roehr) 'White Rosebud' (Kehr) Intermedia 'Pilling'
Species - Deciduous R. alabamense R. luteum R. schlippenbachii R. amagianum R. peridymenoides R. serrulatum R. atlanticum R. prunifolium R. vaseyi R. bakeri R. prunifolium (Hohman) R. viscosum R. calendulaceum Deciduous Hybrids 'Ann Ione' (K.H.) 'Isolde' (Kern) 'Pompadour' (K.H.) 'Annabella' (K.H.) 'Juliette' (Kern) 'Pot of Gold' (Kern) 'Balls of Fire' (Bovee) 'Kern's Pride' (Kern) 'Primrose' (K.H.) 'Balzac' (Exb.) 'Kilauea' (Exb.) 'Prominent' (Mollis) 'Bazaar' (Exb.) 'King's Peach' (King) 'Queen Emma' (Mollis) 'Berryrose' (Exb.) 'King's Red' (King) 'Red Letter' (Ilam) 'Bouquet de Flore' (Ghent) 'Klondyke' (Exb.) 'Redshank' (K.H.) 'Brazil' (Exb.) 'Knap Hill Yellow' (K.H.) 'Red Velvet' (Ilam) 'Bright Forecast' (Exb.) 'Knap Hill Apricot' (K.H.) 'Renne' (Exb.) 'Bright Straw' (Exb.) 'Knap Hill Red' (K.H.) 'Rumba' (K.H.) 'Bullfinch' (K.H.) 'Krakatoa' (K.H.) 'Rosella' (K.H.) 'Buzzard' (K.H.) 'Leilani' (Bovee) 'Ruth Davies' (K.H.) 'Bryon Mayo' (Bovee) 'Lemonora' (Mollis) 'Royal Command' (Exb.) 'Caterina' (Kern) 'Lilikoi' (Bovee) 'Royal Flush' (Herbert) 'Cathye Mayo' (Bovee) 'Marion Merriman' (K.H.) 'Royal Lodge' (K.H.) 'Cecile' (Exb.) Mephistos 'Rufus' (Ilam) 'Fireglow' (K.H.) 'Mermaid' (Kern) 'Samuel Taylor Coleridge' 'Flarepath' (K.H.) 'Mildred Alfarata' (K.H.) (Mollis) 'Fort Knox' (Herbert) 'Mrs. Anthony Waterer' (K.H.) 'Sandra Marie' (Bovee) 'France' (Kern) 'Musette' (Kern) 'Saturnus' (K.H.) 'Frans van der Bom' (Mollis) 'Nancy Waterer' (Ghent) 'Scarlet Pimpernel' (Exb.) 'Gallipoli' (Exb.) Napoli 'Scotty' (Bovee) 'Gibraltar' (Exb.) 'Narcissiflora' (Ghent) Screaming Red 'Ginger' (K.H.) 'Nevada' (Bovee) 'Seville' (Slocock) 'Gloria Mundi' (Ghent) 'Nicolaas Beets' (Mollis) 'Spek's Brilliant' (Spek) 'Gog' (K.H.) 'Norma' (Rustica) 'Spring Salvo' (Bovee) 'Goldball' (Mollis) 'Old Gold'(Exb.) 'Strawberry Ice' (Exb.) 'Golden Eye' (K.H.) 'Orient' (Exb.) 'Summer Day' (Kern) 'Golden Oriole' (K.H.) 'Orientale' (Kern) 'Sunburst' (Kern) 'Golden Peace' (Exb.) 'Oxydol' (Exb.) 'Sunrise' (Ham) 'Goldflake' (Bovee) 'Patti' (Kern) 'Sunset Pink' (Exb.) 'Harvest Moon' (Slocock) 'Pavane' (K.H.) 'Sylphides' (K.H.) 'Herbert's Grandflower' (Herbert) 'Peachy Keen' (Ilam) 'Tang' (Leach) 'High Sierras' (Bovee) 'Peregrine' (K.H.) 'Toucan' (K.H.) 'Homebush' (K.H.) 'Persil' (Slocock) 'Troupial' (K.H.) 'Hortulanus H. Witte' (Mollis) 'Pink Cloud' (Kern) 'Tunis' (Slocock) 'Hotspur Red' (Exb.) 'Pink Delight' (Exb.) 'Violet Gordon' (K.H.) 'Irene Koster' (Occ.) 'Pink Williams' (Ilam) 'White Swan' (K.H.) 'Yaffle' (K.H.) (Exb.) Exbury
(K.H.) Knap Hill
Most Highly Rated Azaleas In The Philadelphia Area
The plants are listed in the order in which they were rated. The first plant listed has the highest rating. The hybrid groups are listed in parentheses.
Evergreen Azaleas Deciduous Azaleas 1. 'Hardy Gardenia' (Linwood) 33. 'Marian Lee' (Back Acres) 1. 'Gibraltar' (Exbury) 2. 'Martha Hitchcock' (Glenn Dale) 34. R. kiusianum 'Album' (species) 2. R. schlippenbachii (species) 3. 'Janet Rhea' (Linwood) 35. 'Dr. Franklin West' (Linwood) 3. 'Cecile' (Exbury) 4. 'Herbert' (Gable) 56. R. kiusianum pink (species) 4. 'Homebush' (Knap Hill) 5. 'Dayspring' (Glenn Dale) 37. 'Polar Bear' (Beltsville) 5. 'Golden Oriole' (Knap Hill) 6. 'Purple Splendor' (Gable) 58. 'Opal' (Linwood) 6. R. calendulaceum (species) 7. 'Hershey's Red' (Hershey) 39. 'Ambrosia' (Glenn Dale) 7. 'Peachy Keen' (Ilam) 8. 'Louise Gable' (Gable) 40. 'J.T. Lovett' (Indicum) 8. 'Klondyke' (Exbury) 9. 'Rose Greeley' (Gable) 41. 'Oh My' (Beattie) 9. 'Renne' (Exbury) 10. 'Stewartstonian' (Gable) 42. 'Girard's Rose' (Girard) 10. 'Daviesi' (Ghent) 11. 'Rosebud' (Gable) 43. 'Aphrodite' (Glenn Dale) 11. 'Toucan' (Knap Hill) 12. 'Geisha' (Glenn Dale) 44. 'Fedora' (Kaempferi) 12. R. bakeri (species) 13. 'Treasure' (Glenn Dale) 45. 'Girard's Crimson' (Girard) 13. R. prunifolium (species) 14. 'Elsie Lee' (Shammarello) 46. 'Gumpo Pink' (Satsuki) 14. 'Oxydol' (Exbury) 15. 'Girard's Hot Shot' (Girard) 47. 'Gwenda' (Robin Hill) 15. R. vaseyi (species) 16. 'Madame Butterfly' (Deerfield) 48. 'Helen Curtis' (Shammarello) 16. R. viscosum (species) 17. 'Glacier' (Glenn Dale) 49. 'Koromo Shikibu' (Ryukyu) 17. 'Old Gold' (Exbury) 18. 'Nancy of Robin Hill' (Robin Hill) 50. 'White Rosebud' (Kehr) 18. 'Bouquet De Flore' (Ghent) 19. 'Ben Morrison' (Morrison Sport) 51. 'Joseph Hill' (North Tisbury) 19. 'Pot Of Gold' (Kern) 20. 'Hinodegiri' (Kurume) 52. 'Pink Pancake' (North Tisbury) 20. 'Brazil' (Exbury) 21. 'Pink Pincushion' (Linwood) 52. 'Big Joe' (Gable) 21. 'White Swan' (Exbury) 22. 'Garden State Glow' (Linwood) 54. 'Pleasant White' (Girard) 22. R. periclymenoides(species) 23. 'Mildred Mae' (Gable) 55. 'Eureka' (Beltsville) 23. 'Royal Flush' (Herbert) 24. 'Refrain' (Glenn Dale) 56. 'Placid' (Beltsville) 24. 'Sandra Marie' (Bovee) 25. R. poukhanense (species) 57. 'Greeting' (Glenn Dale) 25. 'Strawberry Ice' (Exbury) 26. 'Linwood Lavender' (Linwood) 26. 'Violet Gordon' (Knap Hill) 27. 'Springtime' (Gable) 27. 'Red Velvet' (Ilam) 28. 'Conversation Piece' (Robin Hill) 28. R. atlanticum (species) 29. 'Gaiety' (Glenn Dale) 29. 'Corneille' (Ghent) 30. 'Gumpo White' (Satsuki) 30. R. luteum (species) 31. 'Beni Kirishima' (Satsuki) 31. 'Herbert's Grandflower' 32. 'Moonbeam' (Glenn Dale) (Herbert) 32. 'Sylphides' (Knap Hill) 33. 'Narcissiflora' (Ghent)
Mr. Steel, a member of the Valley Forge Chapter, has been chairman of the Azalea Study Group for four years. He also serves on the ARS Azalea Committee.