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Exbury Azaleas Rhododendron hybrids

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
roh-do-DEN-dron
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Exbury azaleas are deciduous shrubs in the Ericaceae (blueberry) family. The genus name derives from the Greek words rhodo, which means rose, and dendron, meaning tree.

Exbury azaleas have an upright, open spreading habit.  Large showy flower trusses explode in the spring with a wide variety of vibrant colors.  The flowers are similar to the flame azalea.  The showy leaf color provides fall interest.

These plants prefer moist, well-drained, acidic soils in dappled shade and protection from afternoon sun which can scorch the leaves. They do 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. They are very winter hardy and have a moderate growth rate. Pruning, if desired, may be done after flowering. 

These shrubs are excellent for naturalizing and are at home as understory shrubs planted in groups in woodland gardens, or as specimens in pollinator gardens where the flowers will attract hummingbirds and bees.

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.  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.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscapes:
Lush Foundation Planting Flower Bonanza Garden
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#hummingbirds#showy flowers#deciduous#poisonous#fragrant flowers#specimen#wildlife plant#deciduous shrub#nectar plant#specialized bees#deer resistant#naturalizes#rock garden#pollinator plant#flowers late spring#flowers early spring#fall color yellow#fall color red#fall color orange#butterfly friendly#fall color bronze#problem for cats#problem for dogs#bee friendly#problem for horses#shrub borders#flowers mid-spring
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#hummingbirds#showy flowers#deciduous#poisonous#fragrant flowers#specimen#wildlife plant#deciduous shrub#nectar plant#specialized bees#deer resistant#naturalizes#rock garden#pollinator plant#flowers late spring#flowers early spring#fall color yellow#fall color red#fall color orange#butterfly friendly#fall color bronze#problem for cats#problem for dogs#bee friendly#problem for horses#shrub borders#flowers mid-spring
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Rhododendron
    Family:
    Ericaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Wildlife Value:
    Excellent nectar plant for bees, hummingbirds and butterflies.  Members of the genus Rhododendron support the following specialized bee: Andrena (Andrena) cornelli.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 4 ft. 0 in. - 8 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 4 ft. 0 in. - 8 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Poisonous
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Open
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • 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:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    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:
    5a, 5b, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Pink
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Trumpet
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Description:
    Flowers are trumpet shaped with five petals born in trusses of 18 to 30 blooms. Individual flowers come in a wide range of colors from reds, oranges, yellows and white. They are large and showy, lightly fragrant and bloom from early to late spring.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Oblong
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Simple elliptic to oblong alternate leaves 2 to 6 inches long with entire margins. May have bronze tinge; good fall color of red, orange, yellow or bronze.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Rock Wall
    Landscape Theme:
    Rock Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Small groups
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Pollinators
    Specialized Bees
    Problems:
    Poisonous to Humans
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    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