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Cumberland Azalea Rhododendron cumberlandense

Other plants called Cumberland Azalea:

Previously known as:

  • Rhododendron bakeri
Phonetic Spelling
roh-do-DEN-dron kum-ber-land-DEN-see
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

The Cumberland Azalea is found in the Cumberland Plateau in Kentucky south to Tennessee and the mountains of Georgia, Alabama, and North Carolina. The flowers range from yellow-orange to deep red and appear June-July. This shrub easily hybridizes with other azaleas accounting for the range of colors. It grows 3-7 feet tall and wide and can form stands. It is best propagated from seed as it is difficult to start from cuttings.

This azalea prefers full sun in the north and partial shade in the south and will need supplemental water during a drought. Plant in humus-rich moist well-drained acidic soil and only prune lightly. Use in woodland and native gardens as a specimen or in groups. 

The Cumberland Azalea can be confused with Flame Azalea but has smaller flowers and blooms later in the year.

Habitat: Balds and exposed or moist slopes

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:
#hummingbirds#deciduous#red flowers#moths#deciduous shrub#native shrub#orange flowers#NC native#pollinator plant#food source summer#food source fall#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#mammals#butterfly friendly#problem for cats#pollinator garden#problem for dogs#problem for horses#audubon#woodlands
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#hummingbirds#deciduous#red flowers#moths#deciduous shrub#native shrub#orange flowers#NC native#pollinator plant#food source summer#food source fall#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#mammals#butterfly friendly#problem for cats#pollinator garden#problem for dogs#problem for horses#audubon#woodlands
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Rhododendron
    Species:
    cumberlandense
    Family:
    Ericaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Southeastern U.S.A.
    Distribution:
    AL , GA , KY , NC , SC , TN , VA
    Wildlife Value:
    Larval host for butterflies and moths.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 7 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    Displays from July to October.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Orange
    Pink
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Funnel
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Yellow-orange to deep red flowers are up to 1.75 inches across in clusters of 3-7. They are funnel-shaped with 5 spreading lobes and exerted stamens and stigma. Hairs are present on the outer surface. Bloom from June to July after the plant has leafed out.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Obovate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Ovate to obovate green leaves are up to 3 inches long, apex acute to obtuse, and a few hairs may be present on the margins.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Furrowed
    Shredding
    Bark Description:
    The bark is brownish gray, smooth to vertically furrowed and shredding.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Young twigs are pubescent with non-glandular hairs
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Small groups
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Moths
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Problems:
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Vomiting (not in horses), diarrhea, weakness, cardiac failure
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Grayantoxin
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No