Plant of the Week: Hooray for Bollywood!

Hooray for Bollywood!

Like other azaleas, Bollywood® flowers in spring. But it continues to put on a show all year long with its crisp variegated foliage. Admittedly it isn't the plant for everyone; your clients who want a restful oasis of muted pastels won't want this variety. But customers who embrace the irrational exuberance of azaleas in spring may like the year-long excitement of this variegated plant.® azalea is hardy to USDA Zone 6 and grows 2-3' tall and wide. It will grow in full sun or partial shade. If you're liking the bright flowers and bold foliage of this plant but it isn't hardy in your area, check out Double Play® Painted Lady™ Spiraea - it's got the same sassy color scheme but is hardy to USDA Zone 3!

Bollywood® is one of the flashier plants at Spring Meadow Nursery, and it's at its peak right now. Check out these liners blooming away in our greenhouses! (pictured right).

Azalea - or Rhododendron?

Both, actually. Properly, Bollywood® azalea is a Rhododendron (in italics). All azaleas are Rhododendron, but not all Rhododendron are azaleas. Clear as mud?

While azaleas and rhododendrons have very similar cultural requirements, and are both classified under the genus Rhododendron, they have different common names. Those termed 'azalea' typically have flowers with 5 stamens while rhododendron flowers have 10. While Bollywood® is a broadleaf evergreen, many azaleas are deciduous. Rhododendrons are usually evergreen. For a more detailed explanation of the differences you can buy a taxonomist a beer or three, or check out this website
In my completely unscientific opinion, azaleas give us saturated Kool-aid colors as our reward for surviving another gray winter. Rhododendrons have a more restrained color palette, but are still a delightful sight in spring.
Plus, rhododendrons do that cool leaf curling thing when the temperature approaches freezing. So your child doesn't want to wear a winter coat? Don't argue with the rhodie, kid.

Plant of the Week is written by Jane Beggs-Joles

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