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Baker's Azalea Rhododendron x bakeri

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
rho-doh-DEN-dron BY BAH-ker-ee
This plant has high severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Baker's azalea is a compact, native, woody, broadleaf evergreen or deciduous shrub in the Ericaceae (blueberry) family. Native to the eastern United States, it grows to 3 to 8 feet tall and wide and has dark-pink blooms. The genus name derives from the Greek words rhodo, which means rose, and dendron, meaning tree.

This plant prefers moist, well-drained, acidic, humus-rich soil. It can tolerate soil that is occasionally wet. Plant it in partial shade, as it needs protection from the hot summer sun. Avoid over-fertilizing. Pruning, if desired, may be done after flowering. It may spread by stolons.

Baker’s azalea is at home as an understory shrub planted in groups in woodland or naturalized areas, or as a specimen in a pollinator garden 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 landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • Cyco Red
Cyco Red
Tags:
#hummingbirds#evergreen#showy flowers#deciduous#poisonous#small shrub#deciduous shrub#native shrub#native bees#low maintenance#specialized bees#NC native#pollinator plant#naturalized area#evergreen shrub#NC Native Pollinator Plant#small group plantings#compact habit#understory shrub#hot pink flowers#problem for cats#problem for dogs#bee friendly#problem for horses#woodland garden
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • Cyco Red
Cyco Red
Tags:
#hummingbirds#evergreen#showy flowers#deciduous#poisonous#small shrub#deciduous shrub#native shrub#native bees#low maintenance#specialized bees#NC native#pollinator plant#naturalized area#evergreen shrub#NC Native Pollinator Plant#small group plantings#compact habit#understory shrub#hot pink flowers#problem for cats#problem for dogs#bee friendly#problem for horses#woodland garden
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Rhododendron
    Species:
    bakeri
    Family:
    Ericaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern US
    Wildlife Value:
    Flowers attract hummingbirds. Members of the genus Rhododendron support the following specialized bee: Andrena (Andrena) cornelli.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 8 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 8 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Poisonous
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Rounded
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    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:
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    Elongated capsule
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Orange
    Pink
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Funnel
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Description:
    Deep reddish-pink to salmon tubular to funnel shaped flowers with 5 petals with protruding stamens in a ball truss of 3 to 7 flowers in summer; not fragrant.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Description:
    Dark green smooth leaves with tiny hairs appear before flowers
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Small groups
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Hummingbirds
    Specialized Bees
    Problems:
    Poisonous to Humans
    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
    Seeds
    Stems