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Orchid lights

A new, hardy, compact azalea for northern areas

close up of purple flower

Orchid Lights is a new introduction of the Northern Lights azalea hybrids. It is a selection from a cross between Rhododendron canadense and R. Kosteranum made by the late Albert G. Johnson. The orchid-colored flowers are 1 1/2 inches across, with the bloom period occurring in mid-May. The flower shape of Orchid Lights is unusual; it is intermediate between the flower shapes of two parents. Flower buds can withstand -45 degrees Fahrenheit in mid-winter without injury. The plants are sterile, so seed capsules are not produced.

The compact plants of Orchid Lights will mature at an average height of 3 feet and a spread of 3 to 4 feet. Orchid Lights is an excellent choice for use in areas where a small-statured flowering shrub is needed to provide spring color.

Azaleas require an acid soil for best growth. However, they can be grown successfully in soil of neutral pH if an ample amount of acid peat is used for backfilling around the roots and if plants are fertilized once or twice annually with acid fertilizer. Since azaleas have a fibrous, shallow root system, they need water during dry periods. A mulch is recommended to help retain moisture. Avoid planting azaleas in poorly drained soils.

Minnesota Report 207-1986

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