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Wild Azalea Rhododendron periclymenoides

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Rhododendron nudiflorum
Phonetic Spelling
rho-doh-DEN-dron per-ih-kly-men-OY-deez
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Pinxterbloom azalea is a deciduous, woody shrub in the Ericaceae (blueberry) family that is native to moist woods, swamp margins, and open areas from Massachusetts to South Carolina and Tennessee. It is a dense, bushy, suckering shrub that typically grows 2 to 6 feet (less frequently to 10 feet) tall.  The genus name derives from the Greek words rhodo, which means rose, and dendron, meaning tree.

This plant has a slow growth rate and prefers moist, well-drained, acidic soils in dappled shade with protection from afternoon sun which can scorch the leaves. It does not tolerate dense clay, so if you have clay soil, amend with organic material. 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. 

Pinxterbloom azalea would be at home as an understory shrub planted in groups in woodland or naturalized areas. It can also be used as a hedge or as a specimen in a butterfly or pollinator garden where the flowers will attract hummingbirds and bees. 

Fire Risk: This plant has a medium flammability rating. 

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 rhododendrons 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. 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:
Tags:
#fragrant#hummingbirds#evergreen#deciduous#poisonous#fragrant flowers#wildlife plant#deciduous shrub#nectar plant#native shrub#hedges#specialized bees#fire medium flammability#NC native#pollinator plant#flowers late spring#food source fall#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#Coastal FAC#Piedmont Mountains FAC#nectar plant late spring#butterfly friendly#understory shrub#nectar plant mid-spring#problem for cats#problem for dogs#bee friendly#problem for horses#Audubon#flowers mid-spring#small hedge
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#fragrant#hummingbirds#evergreen#deciduous#poisonous#fragrant flowers#wildlife plant#deciduous shrub#nectar plant#native shrub#hedges#specialized bees#fire medium flammability#NC native#pollinator plant#flowers late spring#food source fall#food source herbage#food source nectar#food source pollen#Coastal FAC#Piedmont Mountains FAC#nectar plant late spring#butterfly friendly#understory shrub#nectar plant mid-spring#problem for cats#problem for dogs#bee friendly#problem for horses#Audubon#flowers mid-spring#small hedge
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Rhododendron
    Species:
    periclymenoides
    Family:
    Ericaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Distribution:
    Massachusetts to South Carolina and Tennessee
    Fire Risk Rating:
    medium flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    This plant provides nectar for pollinators. Hummingbirds and swallowtail butterflies are attracted to the blooms.
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Heat, drought, and soil compaction tolerant.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 4 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 4 ft. 0 in. - 5 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Poisonous
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Multi-stemmed
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    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:
    Moist
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    Elongated capsule. Displays from September to October.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Funnel
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Clusters of soft pink (often cotton candy pink) to white to lavender, slightly fragrant, funnel-shaped flowers (to 1.5” across), each with 5 long curved stamens, 5 petals, bloom from April to May immediately preceding the emergence of the foliage.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Oblong
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Oblong to elliptic green leaves. The leaves are alternate, simple, smooth- or toothed-margined. It has dull yellow fall foliage.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Hedge
    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:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Vomiting (not in horses), diarrhea, weakness, cardiac failure
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Grayantoxin
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No