The Amelia Rose azalea was hybridized by retired professor Dr. Eugene Aromi and his wife Jane in Mobile, Alabama.
Aptly named, Amelia Rose features 3″-4″ double flowers that look somewhat reminiscent of hybrid tea rose blooms. Once open, the flowers look a little bit like camellias. It’s an interesting and beautiful flower for sure. Amelia Rose azalea would be a seriously fine addition to any garden.
Apparently, a lot was going on in azalea breeding during the 1960’s and 1970’s. Amelia Rose came from this period.
Amelia rose was hybridized from Elsie Lee and Pride of Prichard. Elsie Lee has double pink flowers that are to my eyes not the equal of Amelia Rose. Elsie Lee is a Shammarello azalea.
Anthony Shammarello filed a number of patent applications in the 1960’s, always with a stated intention of creating hybrid azaleas of greater winter hardiness. By way of example, the following link is a plant patent for a Shammarello azalea cultivar granted on July 4, 1961. It makes for interesting reading and gives insight into the factors an azalea breeder considered over fifty years ago.
Pride of Prichard, named for Prichard, Alabama, is an Indica azalea. The breeder, Ms. Petri, focused her attention on hybridizing Indica azaleas with double forms. Indica azaleas often lose their buds during hard winter freezes. The plant survives but the flowers are lost for the year.
Logically, Amelia Rose azaleas may have been the product of an attempt to create a double-flowered azalea with increased cold hardiness.
With its southern Indica parentage, Amelia Rose will get fairly large size by azalea standards – up to six feet tall and wide. Interestingly and understandably, deer reportedly love to munch on the soft double flowers.
Growing Amelia Rose Azaleas
Amelia Rose is hardy to zone 6B. Contrary to what many gardeners believe, azaleas will tolerate sun so long as it is morning or early afternoon. Bright filtered light throughout the day is excellent as well. The important thing to know is that azaleas will bloom best the more light they get. Find the balance by protecting azaleas from mid to late afternoon direct sunlight.
Soil should have acidic pH. Loose, rich, friable soil is best. Hard clay is a disaster. Water regularly until established, normally a season or two.