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Alabama Azalea Rhododendron alabamense

Phonetic Spelling
rho-doh-DEN-dron al-uh-bam-EN-see
This plant has high severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Alabama azalea is a rounded, woody, deciduous shrub in the Ericaceae (blueberry) family. It is native to Alabama and Georgia. The genus name derives from the Greek words rhodo, which means rose, and dendron, meaning tree.  This compact rhododentron grows to a height  and width of 4 to 6 feet.

Alabama azalea grows in drier woodlands than most of our other native azaleas. Place it in a site with partial shade and well-drained acidic soil with a high content of loam and sand as well as organic matter. Mulch it each year to keep the soil moist and cool. Protect it from afternoon sun, as it can scorch the leaves and the roots may rot if the soil does not drain well. It spreads by underground runners.

It has white flowers with a prominent lemon-yellow blotch on the upper petal, and a distinct, lemon fragrance. These flowers support pollinators like bees. Though this plant is frequently damaged by deer, it tolerates damage by rabbits.  Propagate this shrub through softwood cutting or layering.

Alabama azalea is at home as an understory shrub planted in small groups in woodland, or cottage garden. Consider using in in a shrub border or place it in a location of prominence as a specimen in a pollinator garden or along a walkway or patio where its sweet fragrance can be enjoyed..  It is also at home in a meadow or other naturalized area of the landscape.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Insect problems include aphids, borers, lace bugs, leafhoppers, mealybugs, mites, nematodes, scale, thrips, and whitefly. Diseases include canker, crown rot, root rot, leaf spot, rust, and powdery mildew. While these shrubs remain very popular for landscape use, many cultivars are susceptible to Phytophthora root rot– this leads to leaf loss, reduced vigor, branch dieback, and wilting.  Implement good cultural practices first, such as improving drainage with organic matter or berms and avoiding overwatering or overfertilization.  However, if you have a site with a history of this disease, consider planting one of the root rot-resistant alternative species listed in the left-hand sidebar. For suitable alternatives, see this video created by Charlotte Glen as part of the Plants, Pests, and Pathogens series.

VIDEO Created by Elizabeth Meyer for "Trees, Shrubs and Conifers" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.

More information on Rhododendron.

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Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#fragrant#evergreen#deciduous#poisonous#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#fragrant leaves#nectar plant#native bees#cottage garden#rabbit resistant#specialized bees#deer browsing plant#naturalized area#sensory garden#walkway planting#small group plantings#patio planting#understory shrub#problem for cats#problem for dogs#bee friendly#problem for horses#meadows#woodland garden
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#fragrant#evergreen#deciduous#poisonous#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#fragrant leaves#nectar plant#native bees#cottage garden#rabbit resistant#specialized bees#deer browsing plant#naturalized area#sensory garden#walkway planting#small group plantings#patio planting#understory shrub#problem for cats#problem for dogs#bee friendly#problem for horses#meadows#woodland garden
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Rhododendron
    Species:
    alabamense
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Layering
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Alabama and Georgia
    Wildlife Value:
    Members of the genus Rhododendron support the following specialized bee: Andrena (Andrena) cornelli, and bumble bees.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 4 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 4 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Poisonous
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7b, 7a, 8a, 8b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Size:
    3-6 inches
    Flower Description:
    Large white tubular flowers in terminal clusters of 6 to 10 with yellow blotches and long stamens appear in spring; strong lemon scent. Flowers appear before leafout.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Margin:
    Dentate
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Alternate, simple, smooth or toothed margined dark green leaves
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Patio
    Walkways
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Cottage Garden
    Garden for the Blind
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Small groups
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Pollinators
    Specialized Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Rabbits
    Problems:
    Poisonous to Humans
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    High
    Poison Symptoms:
    Salivation, watering of eyes and nose, abdominal pain, loss of energy, depression, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, difficult breathing, progressive paralysis of arms and legs, cardiac failure, coma.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Andromedotoxin, Grayantoxin
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Sap/Juice
    Seeds
    Stems