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Rhododendron minus

Previously known as:

  • Rhododendron carolinianum
Phonetic Spelling
rho-doh-DEN-dron MY-nus
This plant has high severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Piedmont rhododendron is a woody, evergreen or deciduous shrub in the Ericaceae family that is native to North Carolina, South Carolina, and the Tennessee mountains. One of the smaller species, this plant grows 3 to 6 feet tall and wide. The genus name derives from the Greek words rhodo, which means rose, and dendron, meaning tree. 

Piedmont rhododendron grows best in partial shade and cool, moist, well-drained, organically rich, acidic soil. It can tolerate full sun in certain areas, although windy sites should be avoided. It cannot tolerate dense clay, and the roots may rot if the 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.

Site the plant in a naturalized or woodland area, or use it as a border, foundation, or mass planting. Its flowers attract hummingbirds and bees, so it is also suitable as a specimen in a pollinator garden.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Insect problems include aphids, borers, lace bugs, leafhoppers, mealybugs, mites, nematodes, scale, thrips, and whitefly.  Leaf spot disease can develop if grown in deep shade or the plant suffers drought stress. Other diseases include canker, crown rot, root rot, rust, and powdery mildew. This plant is frequently damaged by deer. 

Many Rhododendron 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. 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 landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Album', 'Carolina Gold', 'Luteum', var. Chapmanii, var. minus, 'White Perfection'
Tags:
#fragrant#hummingbirds#evergreen#deciduous#poisonous#houseplant#wildlife plant#moths#fragrant leaves#nectar plant#native shrub#native bees#mass planting#specialized bees#foundation planting#native garden#border planting#pollinator plant#larval host plant#food source fall#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#compact habit#mammals#butterfly friendly#problem for cats#problem for dogs#bee friendly#problem for horses#Audubon
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Album', 'Carolina Gold', 'Luteum', var. Chapmanii, var. minus, 'White Perfection'
Tags:
#fragrant#hummingbirds#evergreen#deciduous#poisonous#houseplant#wildlife plant#moths#fragrant leaves#nectar plant#native shrub#native bees#mass planting#specialized bees#foundation planting#native garden#border planting#pollinator plant#larval host plant#food source fall#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#compact habit#mammals#butterfly friendly#problem for cats#problem for dogs#bee friendly#problem for horses#Audubon
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Rhododendron
    Species:
    minus
    Family:
    Ericaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee mountains
    Wildlife Value:
    Flowers attract hummingbirds. Members of the genus Rhododendron support the following specialized bee: Andrena (Andrena) cornelli.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Poisonous
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Deciduous
    Semi-evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Erect
    Irregular
    Rounded
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    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
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    Displays from September to October.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    Pink
    White
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Small magenta-pink (rose-pink) flower in large trusses of 5 to 10. Greenish spots on the petals. Blooms from April to June after new leaves develop.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Deciduous
    Semi-evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leathery
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Purple/Lavender
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Small, glossy, leathery, elliptical leaves 2 to 3 in. long and .75 to 1.5 in. wide. Undersides are scaled with brown spots, petioles reddish-brown. Aromatic when crushed. Purplish tinge in winter, some older leaves turning yellow and falling off.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
    Bark Description:
    Usually hidden by foliage.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Houseplants
    Naturalized Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Shade Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Foundation Planting
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Pollinators
    Specialized Bees
    Problems:
    Poisonous to Humans
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    High
    Poison Symptoms:
    HIGHLY TOXIC, MAY BE FATAL IF EATEN! 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