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Will azaleas be in bloom for the North Carolina Azalea Festival?

Ben Steelman

Predicting azalea blooms is always risky, said Al Hight, director of the New Hanover County Cooperative Extension Service. Because of an exceptionally warm fall, however, Hight guesses that this season’s azaleas will peak earlier than in 2015.

Some of the small pink Coral Belle azaleas have been blooming for a month already, Hight noted, and a Red Ruffles bush at the New Hanover County Arboretum is already blooming. Driving around downtown Wilmington, one can already see color, if not blooms, on a number of the Southern Indica (Formosa) bushes.

Given this rate, and assuming warm weather, Hight speculates that this year’s azaleas should reach their peak by the end of March or the first week of April. This might mean that the Formosas will be past their prime when the 2016 Azalea Festival rolls around, April 6-10. There should, however, still be plenty of azaleas in time for the festival.


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