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Rhododendron catawbiense 'Roseum Elegans'

Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
rho-doh-DEN-dron kah-taw-bee-EN-say
This plant has high severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

'Roseum Elegans'  is a fast growing rhododendron cultivar in the Ericaceae (blueberry) family.  This broadleaf evergreen, dense and rounded to spreading, multi-stemmed shrub has showy lavender pink flowers and glossy leaves.  The parent plant is native to the woodland slopes and ridges in the eastern United States along the Appalachian Mountain range, specifically in the Catawba region in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The genus name Rhododendron derives from the Greek words rhodo, meanin rose, and dendron, meaning tree.  

Plant this shrub in full to partial shade in acidic, rich, well-drained but moist soils. This cultivar does best in cooler climates and can struggle with our southern summers.  The root system is shallow so annual mulching will help retain moisture and keep soil temperatures even. It is important not to let the soil dry out completely or this will damage the roots. While it handles the morning sun, the plant does need protection from harsh afternoon rays and wind. It tolerates almost full shade conditions.

It typically grows from 6 to 8 feet tall and wide. It may become sparse and rangy when grown in unfavorable conditions. 

As an evergreen it adds interest as an accent plant in winter and gardens and naturalized areas. It can be a specimen, planted in small groups or mass planted and used as a hedge or in a shrub border. 

Fire Risk: This plant has a high flammability rating and should not be planted within the defensible space of your home. Select plants with a low flammability rating for the sites nearest your home. 

Quick ID Hints:

  • Long, leathery leaves, in tiers, congested at branch tips
  • Large, 5-lobed bell-shaped flowers with maculations
  • Terminal clusters of flowers in a raceme
  • Juvenile twigs yellowish

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. This plant is frequently damaged by deer.

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. 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 catawbiense.

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Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#poisonous#specimen#winter interest#accent plant#mass planting#hedges#large shrub#glossy leaves#naturalized area#flowers late spring#evergreen shrub#small group plantings#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#shrub borders#woodland garden#flowers mid-spring
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#poisonous#specimen#winter interest#accent plant#mass planting#hedges#large shrub#glossy leaves#naturalized area#flowers late spring#evergreen shrub#small group plantings#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#shrub borders#woodland garden#flowers mid-spring
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Rhododendron
    Species:
    catawbiense
    Family:
    Ericaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Wildlife Value:
    Members of the genus Rhododendron support the following specialized bee: Andrena (Andrena) cornelli. Deer browse this plant.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 6 ft. 0 in. - 8 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 6 ft. 0 in. - 8 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Poisonous
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4b, 4a, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    Long dry seed capsules
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Bell
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Description:
    Showy clusters of up to 20 bell-shaped lavender flowers with red-brown spots on the 5 petals. Flowers appear from May to June.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Oblong
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Simple, entire margins glossy deep green leaves.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Scaly
    Bark Description:
    Gray-brown scaly bark
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Shade Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Hedge
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Specialized Bees
    Problems:
    Poisonous to Humans
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    High
    Poison Symptoms:
    alivation, watering of eyes and nose, abdominal pain, loss of energy, depression, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, cardiac failure, difficult breathing, progressive paralysis of arms and legs, coma.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Andromedotoxin, Grayantoxin
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Sap/Juice