The Kurume hybrid azaleas of Japan owe their parentage to several species of mountain azaleas, predominantly R. sataense with R. kiusianum. Formerly, the Kurume hybrids were grouped under R. obtusum, but modern horticulturists now consider R. obtusum a hybrid and not a separate species. Dense, upright, evergreen shrub with small, 1 1/4 inch long, elliptic, glossy, olive green leaves. The Kurume are prized for showy clusters of small, profuse early to midspring flowers, 1 to 3 per truss, which literally cover the plant. Best adapted to partial sun. Prune immediately after flowering so you won’t cut off any of next year’s flower buds. Best if not sheared. Beautiful planted in generous, solid-colored drifts along edge of woods. The Kurume hybrids are also prized for bonsai culture. Plant as you would any of the other azaleas: high and in well-drained, acidic 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.