Rhododendron kaempferi ( Mercator Torch Azalea )

Rhododendron kaempferi, or torch azalea, is a cold-hardy, semi-evergreen shrub, usually tall and broad. The Kaempferi hybrids were bred from R. kaempferi as well as R. ‘Malvatica’ and R. “Maxwelli.’ Leaves are glossy, lance-shaped to ovate, 1 1/2 to 2 inches long. Flowers are borne in showy trusses of 2 to 4 per cluster. The foliage of many hybrids turns beautiful red hues in fall and winter. Plant as you would any of the other azaleas: high and in well-drained, acid soil, rich with organic matter. Though azaleas have a potentially large list of possible pest and disease problems, they are usually trouble free if planted correctly in proper cultural conditions.