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Azalea 'Coral Bells' Rhododendron indicum 'Coral Bells'

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
roh-do-DEN-dron IN-dih-kum
This plant has high severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

with showy pink flowers that appear in the spring.  It grows at a medium pace to a height of 2 to 6 feet tall and a width of 3 to 6 feet.  Plant in a location where it will receive partial shade and where you can provide regular watering.  The showy pink flowers are abundant even on newly planted shrubs.

This plant works well in a shrub border, in a woodland garden, or planted in containers on a patio.  This cultivar is highly susceptible to Phytophthora root rot, so practice good cultural conditions where you plant.

'Coral Bells' is a dwarf evergreen cultivar of the Kurume Azaleas semi-evergreen shrubs in the Ericaceae (blueberry) family.   This compact azalea has a mature size of about 2 to 6 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet in width. While it has a dense canopy it can spread. The genus name, Rhododendron, derives from the Greek words rhodo, which means rose, and dendron, meaning tree.  

This plant prefers partial shade and acicic well drained soil that is moist and high in organic material. It is intolerant of heavy and wet soils, drought, and excessive fertilization. It has a slow growth rate and requires a high level of maintenance including removing spent flower clusters immediately after flowering.  

'Coral Bells' has showy, coral pink flowers that bloom in mid to late spring and occasionally again in the fall. It works well in the landscape as an understory shrub mass planted or in small groups in woodland or naturalized areas, or as specimens in pollinator gardens where the flowers will attract bees. It can also be used as a low hedge or in a winter garden where its leaves turn attractive shades of red.  

Quick ID Hints:

  • Small shrub, sympodial growth, with crowded evergreen leaves in tiers
  • Twigs & leaves covered with reddish-brown hairs 
  • Flowers axillary, single in spring with funnel-form corolla
  • Calyx 5-lobed, elongated & pointed

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 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 indicum.

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Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#poisonous#pink flowers#shade garden#spring flowers#winter interest#dwarf#mass planting#high maintenance#foundation planting#bell shape#border planting#flowers late spring#evergreen shrub#small group plantings#understory shrub#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#disease problems#shrub borders#woodland garden#wet soils intolerant#low hedge#flowers mid-spring
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#poisonous#pink flowers#shade garden#spring flowers#winter interest#dwarf#mass planting#high maintenance#foundation planting#bell shape#border planting#flowers late spring#evergreen shrub#small group plantings#understory shrub#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#disease problems#shrub borders#woodland garden#wet soils intolerant#low hedge#flowers mid-spring
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Rhododendron
    Species:
    indicum
    Family:
    Ericaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Poisonous
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    High
  • 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:
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7b, 7a, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    Fruits are a dehiscent 5-valved capsule.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Bell
    Flower Petals:
    7 - 20 petals/rays
    Flower Description:
    Showy pink double flowers appear in early spring.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Oblanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Crenate
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Tiny gray green simple alternate leaves lanceolate to oblaceolate crenate to serrulate. Turn attractive red in the winter.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Patio
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Shade Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Foundation Planting
    Hedge
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Rabbits
    Problems:
    Frequent Disease Problems
    Frequent Insect Problems
    Poisonous to Humans
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    High
    Poison Symptoms:
    Vomiting (not in horses), diarrhea, weakness, cardiac failure
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Grayantoxin
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Sap/Juice