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Rhododendron flammeum

Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Rhododendron speciosum
Phonetic Spelling
rho-doh-DEN-dron FLAM-ee-um
This plant has high severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Piedmont azalea is a woody, evergreen, or deciduous shrub in the Ericaceae (blueberry) family. It is native to the mountains of South Carolina and Georgia. The genus name derives from the Greek words rhodo, which means rose, and dendron, meaning tree. This mounding shrub ranges in both height and width from 6 to 8 feet. 

Plant in humus-rich, acidic, moist but well-drained soils in partial shade to dappled shade. As with other azaleas, this species does not tolerate dense clay, so if you have clay soil, amend with organic material. The roots may rot if soil does not drain well. Plant the root ball high in the soil to help with drainage issues. Avoid overwatering and over-fertilizing. Pruning, if desired, may be done after flowering.  

The tubular, showy flowers appear in large clusters in the spring in a variety of colors from yellow to pink to red and attract both hummingbirds and bees. For an azalea, It is tolerant of heat and humidity.

Use in a woodland garden, for naturalizing, foundation plantings, or as a specimen, hedge, or shady shrub border.

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. (Deer damage may or may not be a problem.) 

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:
#hummingbirds#evergreen#deciduous#poisonous#heat tolerant#specimen#wildlife plant#pink flowers#nectar plant#native bees#shade garden#orange flowers#hedges#specialized bees#foundation planting#pollinator plant#naturalized area#shade border#small group plantings#problem for cats#problem for dogs#bee friendly#problem for horses#shrub borders#woodland garden
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#hummingbirds#evergreen#deciduous#poisonous#heat tolerant#specimen#wildlife plant#pink flowers#nectar plant#native bees#shade garden#orange flowers#hedges#specialized bees#foundation planting#pollinator plant#naturalized area#shade border#small group plantings#problem for cats#problem for dogs#bee friendly#problem for horses#shrub borders#woodland garden
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Rhododendron
    Species:
    flammeum
    Family:
    Ericaceae
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Layering
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    southeastern U.S.
    Wildlife Value:
    Members of the genus Rhododendron support the following specialized bee: Andrena (Andrena) cornelli. Attracts hummingbirds and butterflies.
    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:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Mounding
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Medium
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • 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
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6b, 6a, 7b, 7a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    Elongated capsule with many seeds
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Pink
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    1.2 to 1.8 in. scarlet, yellow, pink, salmon, bright red tubular flowers with a darker splotch on the upper lobe and long extruded stamens in clusters up to 15 flowers in April -May
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Up to 3.5-inch long oval leaves with yellow fall color.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Pollinator Garden
    Shade Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Foundation Planting
    Hedge
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Hummingbirds
    Pollinators
    Specialized Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Heavy Shade
    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
    Sap/Juice
    Seeds
    Stems