closeup of orange azaleas

The Southeastern United States is home to many azaleas. You will not find the common Asian evergreen azaleas like ‘Pride of Mobile’ in the Arboretum. Our collection focuses on the native azaleas, all of which are deciduous. This means they lose their leaves each winter. The Southeastern United States is home to more types of deciduous azaleas than the rest of the world combined, and the center of that diversity lies just east of Auburn in Georgia.

The Arboretum is home to over 1000 specimens from the genus Rhododendron. This genus contains native deciduous azaleas, native evergreen rhododendrons, and hundreds of other varied species from around the world. We display all of the species that naturally occur in the Southeastern US, as well as examples of natural variation within those species, and naturally occurring hybrids between species. In addition to natural hybrids, the collection is home to more than 100 types of intentional hybrids between deciduous azalea species. These are popular in gardens, but not exist anywhere in the wild. They were made over a 40 year period by a trio of Auburn gardeners so respected that most of them have buildings on the Auburn Campus named after them.

View the Azalea Gallery.