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Rhododendron catawbiense

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

Rhododendron catawbiense, commonly called Catawba rhododendron or mountain rosebay, is a large, rounded to spreading, multi-stemmed, broadleaf evergreen shrub that typically grows to 6-10’ (rarely to 20’) tall. It is native to the eastern U.S. from Maryland to Kentucky south to Alabama and Georgia, with concentrations in alpine woodlands, rocky slopes, and ridges in the Appalachian Mountains from Virginia to Georgia where it often forms dense thickets.  Its gray-brown bark develops fine scales with age.  This shrub is an important parent of a large number of frost-hardy hybrids. It will often become leggy when grown in unfavorable conditions.

This plant is winter hardy to USDA Zones 4-8 where it is best grown in acidic, humusy, organically rich, evenly moist, moisture-retentive but well-drained soils in part shade. It performs well with some morning sun but needs shady afternoon conditions. It will tolerate close to full shade. Prefers cool summer temperatures. Roots must never be allowed to dry out. Acidify soils prior to planting and thereafter as needed. Plant in locations protected from strong winter winds. Do not site plants within or near the drip line of trees in the walnut family (most rhododendrons are sensitive to toxic juglones produced by roots of walnuts, butternuts, pecans and hickories). Good soil drainage is essential (doesn’t like “wet feet”). Poor drainage inevitably leads to root rot, therefore raised beds/plantings should be considered in areas with heavy clay soils. Shallow, fibrous root systems (do not cultivate around plants) will benefit greatly from a mulch (e.g., wood chips, bark or pine needles) to help retain moisture and stabilize soil temperatures.

HIGHLY TOXIC MAY BE FATAL IF EATEN!

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. 

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Rhododendrons are susceptible to insect and disease problems.  Insect problems include aphids, borers, lacebugs, leafhoppers, mealybugs, mites, nematodes, scale, thrips, and whitefly.  Diseases include canker, crown rot, root rot, leaf spot, rust, and powdery mildew.  Full sun can scorch the leaves and the roots rot if the soil does not drain well.   A healthy plant in the right place with proper maintenance should have few problems. This plant is frequently damaged by deer.

More information on Rhododendron.

Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bees#hummingbirds#evergreen#deciduous#poisonous#wildlife plant#showy#nectar plant#native shrub#native bees#woody#cover plant#winter interest#specialized bees#cpp#fire#high flammability#NC native#pollinator plant#cover#hummingbird#butterfly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bees#hummingbirds#evergreen#deciduous#poisonous#wildlife plant#showy#nectar plant#native shrub#native bees#woody#cover plant#winter interest#specialized bees#cpp#fire#high flammability#NC native#pollinator plant#cover#hummingbird#butterfly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Rhododendron
    Species:
    catawbiense
    Family:
    Ericaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Appalachian mountains
    Distribution:
    Southern Appalachian mountains, from Virginia through Georgia
    Fire Risk Rating:
    high flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    It provides winter cover. Nectar from flowers attracts hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees. Members of the genus Rhododendron support the following specialized bee: Andrena (Andrena) cornelli.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 6 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 8 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Poisonous
    Shrub
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Multi-stemmed
    Rounded
    Spreading
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Elongated dry seed capsules (each to 1/2 to 1” long) which mature in fall.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Funnel
    Flower Description:
    Funnel-shaped lavender-pink flowers that have green to yellow-brown throat markings. The flowers bloom mid to late spring in compact showy terminal clusters (trusses), each containing 15-20 flowers.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leathery
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Oblong
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Large, leathery, simple, alternate, elliptic to oblong, glossy, dark green leaves (to 3-6” long) with smooth or toothed margins. It may develop yellow-green winter color.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Brown
    Light Gray
    Bark Description:
    Gray-brown bark; develops fine scales with age
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Houseplants
    Naturalized Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Winter Garden
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Hummingbirds
    Pollinators
    Specialized Bees
    Problems:
    Poisonous to Humans
  • 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, coma.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Andromedotoxin
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Seeds
    Stems