Regarded as one of the most gorgeous American shrubs, Rhododendron calendulaceum, also known as the Flame Azalea, is certainly one of the most spectacular native shrubs with its very showy flowers. Sometimes slightly scented, the blooms are larger than most other natives, up to 3 in. wide (7 cm), with buds resembling candle flames (hence the common name). Appearing as leaves emerge or just after, the flowers come in a wide range of fiery colors including golden-yellow, glowing orange shades and brilliant red, usually with an orange blotch on their upper lobe. Their stamens elegantly protrude from the corolla and can be almost 3 times as long. Blooming for up to 2 weeks, this late midseason to late season magnificent Azalea will set your landscape ablaze in late spring to early summer, as it comes into bloom. Its deciduous foliage of ovate to elliptic mid-green, softly hairy leaves, sometimes turns a muted yellow in fall. Both leaves and branches often appear in whorls.
- Rhododendron calendulaceum forms an upright, spreading shrub, up to 4-8 ft. tall and wide (120-240 cm)
- Winner of the Rhododendron of the Year Award of the American Rhododendron Society for the Mid-Atlantic, North East, North West and South East regions.
- A full sun to part shade lover, this plant is easily grown in moist, acidic, humusy, well-drained soils. Needs at least a few hours of sun each day. Tolerates dry soil. Plant shallowly. Protect from frost to prevent damage to flowers. Mulch annually with leaf mould to retain moisture, control weeds, and cool the soil.
- Perfect for borders, as a flowering hedge or privacy screen and for foundation plantings.
- Attracts butterflies, hummingbirds and birds.
- Removing spent flowers promotes new growth
- Rhododendron calendulaceum is said to be difficult to propagate from cuttings, but it is very easy from seed.
- All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested
- Native of the eastern United States, Flame Azalea was first collected by A. Michaux in 1795 from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. This species has a wide range of distribution from southern New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio as a northern limit, southward through the Appalacian mountains to northern Georgia.