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Rho­dodendron schlippenbachii (Royal azalea)

Rho­dodendron schlippenbachii Photo/Illustration: Chris Curless


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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Botanical Name: Rho­dodendron schlippenbachii roe-doe-DEN-dron shlip-pen-BOK-ee-eye Common Name: Royal azalea Genus: Rhododendron
Royal azalea has large, fragrant pink blooms in spring. This large-leaved azalea also has purple-hued foliage in spring, turning velvet green in summer, and finally fading to yellow in autumn.
Noteworthy characteristics: Good fall color if grown in sun and moist soil.
Care: Rhododendrons have very specific requirements, including moist, but well-drained, woodsy, acidic soil (pH 4.5 to 5.5). They must be planted shallowly, as they are surface rooted. Temperate climates with adequate rain are best, although azaleas do well in the Southeast as well. Deadhead carefully. Prefers full sun in the northern U.S. and Canada. Mulch annually with a loose material like pine needles, bark, or chopped oak leaves.
Propagation: Surface-sow seed at 55° to 64°F in acidic potting mix or peat, as soon as ripe or in early spring. Garden-collected seed may not come true. Root semi-ripe cuttings in late summer of autumn. Layer in autumn. Graft in late winter or late summer.
Problems: Vine weevil, whiteflies, leafhoppers, lacebugs, scale insects, caterpillars, aphids, powdery mildew, bud blast, rust, leafy gall, petal blight, Phytophthora root rot, lime-induced chlorosis.
Height 10 ft. to 15 ft.
Spread 10 ft. to 15 ft.
Growth Pace Moderate Grower
Light Full Sun to Part Shade
Moisture Medium Moisture
Maintenance Moderate
Characteristics Fragrant Flowers; Showy Flowers; Showy Foliage
Bloom Time Spring
Flower Color Pink Flower; White Flower
Uses Beds and Borders, Specimen Plant/ Focal Point, Woodland Garden
Style Shade, Cottage Garden
Seasonal Interest Spring Interest, Summer Interest, Fall Interest
Type Shrubs

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