Sunday, August 1, 2010

Plumleaf Azalea -This Gardener's Choice

Plumleaf azalea (Rhododendron prunifolium) has been blooming in my garden for the past ten days. This species is a late July - early August bloomer in northeast TN. The bright orange-red flowers of this native azalea light up any garden spot whether in full sun or partial shade. Provide some additional shade in southern climes (zones 7-b and 8). A dark red flower selection is available.
It grows in any well-drained soil type- sand, silt or clay. My two established shrubs receive little nutritional care. Shrubs are irrigated during severe drought periods, such as we are in currently.
Plumleaf azalea is an Alabama/southwest Georgia native, but is winter hardy in the southern Appalachian region (USDA zones 6-7), and further north (zone 5). It seems almost soil pH insensitive, although likely prefers an acidic range between 5.4 to 6.4. No diseases and insects pests trouble it. Flowers are not fragrant, but do attract numerous butterfly and bee pollinators.

Pruning is rarely done on my 15+ year old plant purchased at Callaway Gardens. Plumleaf azalea grows 8-10 feet tall, but I maintain it at 6 by 6 feet tall and wide. An errant branch is occasionally clipped back into the fold.

No comments:

Post a Comment