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Azalea is not a genus on its own but is part of the rhododendron genus. This genus is divided into two groups: rhododendrons, large evergreen or deciduous shrubs, and azaleas, evergreen dwarf shrubs, with green leaves, or small and deciduous. Until a few years ago it was mistakenly believed that they were two distinct species, but in reality both azaleas that rhododendrons are part of a single genus, that of the Rhododendrons precisely, which in turn belongs to the heather family. They are medium in size, reaching 40-90 cm in height; the thin, semi-woody stems are densely branched, and give rise to rounded or elongated shrubs; the leaves are oval, dark green, rough and slightly leathery; in spring, before snacking the leaves, they produce numerous trumpet flowers, gathered in bunches, at the apex of the branches, of pink, red or white color; there are many cultivars and hybrids, and in recent years they are also present on the market azaleas lilac or bluish in color. Evergreen varieties slightly fear the cold, therefore they are grown as houseplants; the deciduous or semi-evergreen varieties are grown in the garden.
Azaleas belong to the Rhododendron genus. Botanists have unified the species in recent years, realizing that there are no substantial differences.
Some distinguish the two genera by counting the number of stamens or by relying on the difference between deciduous or persistent leaf plants.
Others, on the other hand, point out that the azaleas have more pointed leaves with small hairs while, observing those of the rhododendrons, with a magnifying glass, you can notice small scales.
In this article we will deal with the general conditions of cultivation, which adapt to both genera, but we will have a particular eye for the cultivation of these potted plants.