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Azalea kurume Rhododendron ponticum

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Rhododendron x obtusum
Phonetic Spelling
rho-do-DEN-dron PON-ti-kum
This plant has high severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Dependable woody, dwarf evergreen or deciduous shrub in the Ericaceae family that is dense and spreading and grows between 3-4' tall.  Kurume hybrid azaleas are hybrid crosses  between R. kiusianumR. kaempferiR. sataense and R. obtusum.  Plant it in mass in a shrub border, use as a foundation planting, specimen or in a woodland garden. This plant is used in bonsai. This plant blooms in mid spring, usually 1-2 weeks before R. indicum. The persistent evergreen leaves are smaller than the seasonal deciduous leaves. Seasonal leaves are subequal the size of the persistent leaves of R. indicum. In general, flowers and leaves are smaller than those of R. indicum with similar structures, but larger versions overlap with smaller versions of R. indicum, hence why they are often confused with each other. It is a very common spring blooming azalea with hundreds of cultivars. Hose-in-hose versions are distinct with the petalois calyx surrounding the similar appearing corolla. Double flowers have petaloid stamens. All parts of the plant are poisonous when ingested. This plant prefers partial shade. 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. It has pest and disease problems, especially fungal diseases. 

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Rhododendrons are susceptible to insect and disease problems.  Insect problems include aphids, borers, lacebugs, leafhoppers, mealybugs, mites, nematodes, scale, thrips and whitefly.  Diseases include canker, crown rot, root rot, leaf spot, rust, and powdery mildew.  Full sun can scorch the leaves and the roots rot if soil does not drain well.   A healthy plant in the right place with proper maintenance should have few problems. This plant is frequently damaged by deer.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Dwarf semigreen shrub with sympodial growth, crowded leaves
  • Twigs & leaves with reddish-brown hairs
  • Flowers axillary, solitary, in spring with a funnel-form
  • Flowers hose-in-hose, single or double
  • Calyx lobes short, broad, obtuse

 

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:
  • 'Pink Pearl'
'Pink Pearl'
Tags:
#bees#red#white#showy flowers#deciduous#partial shade#specimen#white flowers#wildlife plant#pink flowers#showy#red flowers#bonsai#deciduous shrub#nectar plant#mass planting#specialized bees#shrub border#foundation planting#pollinator plant#fantz#evergreen shrub#small group plantings#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#woodlands
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Pink Pearl'
'Pink Pearl'
Tags:
#bees#red#white#showy flowers#deciduous#partial shade#specimen#white flowers#wildlife plant#pink flowers#showy#red flowers#bonsai#deciduous shrub#nectar plant#mass planting#specialized bees#shrub border#foundation planting#pollinator plant#fantz#evergreen shrub#small group plantings#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses#woodlands
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Rhododendron
    Species:
    ponticum
    Family:
    Ericaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Bulgaria, Lebanon, Caucasus
    Wildlife Value:
    Members of the genus Rhododendron support the following specialized bee: Andrena (Andrena) cornelli.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 2 ft. 0 in. - 5 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Poisonous
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    High
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    Fruits are a dehiscent 5-valved capsule
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Description:
    Flowers are axillary, single to double or hose-in-hose but rarely hose-in-hose double, and are rose-pink to red to purple to violet or white in color. There are 5 calyx lobes that are short, broad, and obtuse. Corolla is funnel-form and 1-2" in size. It has 5 lobes with the upper central and sometimes the lateral pair bearing inconspicuous to conspicuous maculation. They have 5-10 stamens.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Obovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Crenate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are alternate, simple, glossy, and consist of evergreen (winter) leaves and deciduous (seasonal) leaves. Blades are elliptic to obovate, crenate-serrulate, with scattered reddish-brown hairs on veins below. Petioles are pubescent with stiff reddish-brown hairs. They grow between 1.5-4" long.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Twigs are pubescent with stiff reddish-brown trichomes and have a sympodial growth.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Foundation Planting
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Pollinators
    Specialized Bees
    Problems:
    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, difficult breathing, progressive paralysis of arms and legs, coma.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Andromedotoxin
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Sap/Juice
    Seeds
    Stems