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Rhododendron eriocarpum

Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
rho-doh-DEN-dron er-ee-oh-KAR-pum
This plant has high severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Dwarf indica (gumpo) azalea is a woody, rounded, broadleaf semi-evergreen shrub in the Ericaceae (blueberry) family that slowly grows to 1 to 2 feet high and wide. This small shrub or groundcover is native to the Ryukyu Islands in Japan.  The genus name derives from the Greek words rhodo, which means rose, and dendron, meaning tree. 

This slow growing plant prefers moist, well-drained, acidic soil. Amend soil with organic matter especially in dense clay. It grows best in partial shade and needs protection from afternoon sun, which can scorch the leaves. Pruning may be done after flowering.  Dwarf indica is very frost tender and may not flower in cooler climates.

This azalea is moderately salt tolerant. The flowers are showy and attract bees and other pollinators so give it a home in a naturalized area or pollinator garden. Use in an accent in a foundation planting, as a small hedge, or plant in the front of a border.  It does well in containers or mass planted as a ground cover. 

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 a root rot-resistant alternative species. 

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:
#evergreen#deciduous#poisonous#white flowers#semi-evergreen#wildlife plant#purple flowers#pink flowers#small shrub#deciduous shrub#nectar plant#salt tolerant#native bees#dwarf#accent plant#mass planting#specialized bees#foundation planting#hairy leaves#pollinator plant#border front#small group plantings#problem for cats#problem for dogs#bee friendly#problem for horses#container plant#low hedge
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#deciduous#poisonous#white flowers#semi-evergreen#wildlife plant#purple flowers#pink flowers#small shrub#deciduous shrub#nectar plant#salt tolerant#native bees#dwarf#accent plant#mass planting#specialized bees#foundation planting#hairy leaves#pollinator plant#border front#small group plantings#problem for cats#problem for dogs#bee friendly#problem for horses#container plant#low hedge
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Rhododendron
    Species:
    eriocarpum
    Family:
    Ericaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Japan
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Ground Cover
    Poisonous
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Semi-evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Rounded
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Fine
  • 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
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Shape:
    Funnel
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Description:
    White or with purple-pink tips funnel shaped flowers with 9-10 showy stamens, and dark flecks on the petals. 1 to 2 per inflorescence; late flowering
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Semi-evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Obovate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Stiff brown hairs cover obovate to elliptic leaves and petioles. Leaves 1" long.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Naturalized Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Foundation Planting
    Hedge
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Pollinators
    Specialized Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Salt
    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, 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
    Seeds
    Stems