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American Azaleas

By L. Clarence Towe

Towe's species descriptions — a subject that can be quite confusing — are the most straightforward and most complete that I have seen in any book.

American Gardener

Other than a few Asiatic and one European species, North America is home to all the deciduous azaleas, members of the genus Rhododendron. There are native American azaleas suitable for a wide variety of garden environments. Gardeners interested in knowing more about these attractive, usually fragrant shrubs will discover here the diversity to be found in the species and will learn about recent trends in cultivation, selection, and hybridization. American azaleas are not used as much as they should be in gardens and in landscaping, even in areas where the plants are native and are common along roadsides. The author offers expert recommendations on all the horticultural aspects important for growing these colorful shrubs, including siting, soil preparation, and companion plantings. His coverage of the native species and the cultivars is comprehensive and up to date. The book provides all that the reader needs to enjoy the year-round pleasures offered by American azaleas.

Awards for this book: Garden Writers Association Bronze Award

Media reviews

"Towe provides a handy list of growers, as well as the names of plant societies devoted to azaleas. Altogether a useful and much-needed book on a group of native plants that deserve to be better known."

—John Van de Water, Newark Star-Ledger

"Towe's species descriptions — a subject that can be quite confusing — are the most straightforward and most complete that I have seen in any book."

—Dick Bir, American Gardener

"Evident in the book is Towe's firsthand experience with native azaleas and his personal knowledge of their habits and cultivation ... The native azalea enthusiast will find Towe's book a needed and cherished addition to the bookshelf. The more casual reader will likely join the ranks of the azalea enthusiasts upon reading the book."

—Mary Tucker, Nativescape

"Towe has produced an informative book leavened with experiences ... Provides plenty of solid information on selecting, planting, and cultivating native azaleas."

—Bob Polomski, Columbia (SC) State

"A welcome addition to the library of books on rhododendrons."

American Rhododendron Society Journal

"[L. Clarence Towe's] engaging sense of humor and quaint anecdotes provide verve to a well written book."

—Peter Kendall, American Rhododendron Society Journal

"Charm and enthusiasm ... shines through the text."

—Patricia A. Taylor, Trenton Times

"It may come as a surprise to learn that there are actually 15 native azalea species and more than 100 hybrids and cultivated varieties. ... You'll find them all in American Azaleas."

—John Van de Water, Newark Star-Ledger

"Towe ... provides the reader with not only the basics of growing them successfully, but with the more technical aspects of their culture, including propagation."

—Richard Churchill, People Places Plants

"Stories of collecting with his buddies show Towe’s sense of humor; as does [his] cultivating advice."

—Barbara L. Wagner, E-Streams

"Towe has produced an informative book leavened with experiences gleaned from more than 25 years as an observer and grower of native azaleas."

—Bob Polomski, Anderson Independent-Mail

"This is a lively book to read, even if one has not a single thought of adding an azalea."

—Diane M. Calabrese, American Reference Books Annual

"Typically, I browse garden books more like reference books; piecemeal, when I need them. American Azaleas I read cover-to-cover."

—Susan Brimo-Cox, Uniontown Herald-Standard

"It will be indispensable to any gardener wishing to grow and enjoy our native azaleas."

—John E. Bryan, Gardening Newsletter

About the author

L. Clarence Towe

L. Clarence Towe is eminently qualified to introduce American azaleas into gardens, and sets out each year with renewed anticipation of spotting new and uncultivated varieties. He meets remarkable plant enthusiasts and tells great stories about plant hunting.

Read more about L. Clarence Towe

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