Rhododendron arborescens

Smooth Azalea, Sweet Azalea

  • Rhododendron arborescens

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0.00022 lb


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0.00022 lb
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Growing Info

Scarification: none required
Stratification: none required
Germination: requires light for germination, surface sow and keep moist

Other: Sterile soil should be used, care should be taken to not sow the seed too thick 

Smooth Azalea, also known as Rhododendron arborescens or Sweet Azalea, is a stunning native shrub that will add beauty to any garden or landscape. This large, loosely-branched shrub can reach heights of 8-12 feet, with an equal spread. Its glossy, bright-green deciduous foliage lacks hairs beneath, setting it apart from other native azaleas. In the fall, the foliage turns a deep red to purple, adding a stunning display of color to your landscape.

The fragrant, funnel-shaped flowers of the Smooth Azalea are a true delight. Ranging in color from white to pink, these flowers cluster in subtle groups of 3 to 6 after the leaves appear. The flowers also feature protruding, red stamens that add an extra touch of beauty. These flowers are not only visually appealing, they are also known for their sweet aroma, which is how the plant earned its name "Sweet Azalea."

Native to the United States, Rhododendron arborescens is typically found growing near moist areas or streams. It thrives in acidic soil with a pH of 6.8 or less and sandy soils above 3000 feet. This plant is drought sensitive and requires moist, partially shaded sites for optimal growth. The Smooth Azalea is also known to be one of the hardiest native white azaleas, making it a great choice for a variety of climates.

It is important to note that while the Smooth Azalea is a beautiful and fragrant plant, its flowers contain poisonous substances that should not be consumed by wild animals or humans. Ingesting this plant can lead to various symptoms such as depression, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, and even coma. It is always important to exercise caution and keep this plant away from children and pets.

In terms of care, the Smooth Azalea is relatively low-maintenance. It does not require excessive watering, but it is important to ensure proper drainage for healthy growth. Planting the shrub in slightly acidic soil and providing partial shade will help it thrive. Mature plants do not require fertilization, but organic matter such as sawdust or pine bark can aid in their growth.

The history of Rhododendron arborescens dates back to the late 18th century, with Frederick Traugott Pursh and John Bartram being credited with its discovery. Initially named Azalea arborescens, it was later renamed by John Torrey to Rhododendron arborescens as he believed it should not be taxonomically separated from other rhododendrons.

In conclusion, the Smooth Azalea, or Rhododendron arborescens, is a striking native shrub that will enhance the beauty of any garden or landscape. With its glossy foliage, fragrant flowers, and vibrant fall color, it is sure to be a standout. However, it is important to remember that while the flowers are beautiful, they are toxic if consumed. With the proper care and caution, the Smooth Azalea will be a stunning addition to any outdoor space.

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