Native Plumleaf Azalea

razorback33(z7)July 20, 2007

In the south, it's the time of the year for the Plumleaf Azalea, Rhododendron prunifolium, to bloom. See link.

Although it's native range is limited to a small area in SW GA & SE AL (Zone 8), it is a popular summer flowering shrub for native plant gardening enthusiasts, since hardiness is rated at -20°F. (Zone 5a).

Same as the other native Azalea species & hybrids, some direct sunlight is necessary for best flowering performance.


Here is a link that might be useful: Rhododendron prunifolium & Providence Canyon,GA

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Thanks for the encouragement. I grew some of these from seed in upstate NY, and they were doing pretty well. One was not prospering because I had planted it in a shady spot, and I moved it last fall to a better spot where it started off well, but our weird winter, really warm for two months, then constantly below freezing for two or three months without much snow, did it in. Two others are in a little too much shade, although they get morning light and filtered sun until 2 p.m., and are doing fairly well. The best one gets full sun 3-4 hours per day. I'm expecting flowers on that one next year. I hope, I hope.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2007 at 11:13AM
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susanswoods(Z6 VA)

Where did you get the R. prunifolium seeds? I'm always looking for sources. I begged a variety of native azalea seeds and started them last winter with only partial success. I had lots germinate but lost a lot to fungus and, I think, insufficient light. Most of the ones that have survived are in the pink/white group. I'm hoping to try again next year.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2007 at 3:21PM
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kwoods(Cold z7 Long Is)

Thanks for the link. I hope mine look that good in a few years.

Do you grow them RB?

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 10:52AM
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susanwoods -- I got mine from the NEWFS seed sale, held every January through March. What they've got varies from year to year and may be in short supply.

I have the same trouble you do with keeping them going after germination. And every year I seem to find a new way to screw up. I have a few new ones going this year, thank goodness.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 1:25PM
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Mine are in full bloom, I can't really describe the flower color, sort of orange/scarlet. Sorry, no fragrance, but the hummingbirds come to it.
Like many summer-blooming shrubs it has many flower buds yet to unfold, it will be blooming well into August.
No need to go to China or Korea to seek new plants, nothing could beat this azalea.
This one takes a few years to come of its own, it will never be carried by the commercial trade, only small operations and non-profits.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 4:16PM
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Yes, but I presently have only one. With limited space and 12 other species, plus several hybrids, of Native Azaleas, they represent a large percentage of the shrubs in my garden.
I was disappointed in it's performance for years, until all of the Southern Magnolias were removed next door and opened up the morning sun, it now is showing it's true potential.
I will probably obtain another one, as I have a nearby space where some old evergreen Azaleas are looking pretty sad.
There is a nursery in GA, that specializes in Native Azaleas (and other Natives), and he has reasonable prices.
Google Lazy K Nursery or go to Dave's GWD to check it out and click on the website link there.
His nursery is near Callaway Gardens and Providence Canyon.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 5:09PM
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kwoods(Cold z7 Long Is)

I got mine from Mr. Koone as well..... in addition to every straight species native azalea he carries and a few hybrids *sigh*. He was very helpful and answered all my questions and emails.

I think my Millie Macs are my current favorites but that changes everytime a new one blooms. That's good info on the siting of the plumleaf RB. Seems I got that part right, now I just have to wait for them to get to a blooming size.

Anyone fertilize? I haven't but am considering it for next spring.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 11:15AM
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kwoods -- go easy on fertilizer. I know from experience having done one in by accidentally spilling some nearby and not realizing what was wrong until too late. I hear a handful of conttonseed meal every spring is about all it takes.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 6:35PM
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I hope this may apply to someone on this forum. I just spoke to my friend Jim from Natural Landscapes Nursery. He is coming to the Irvine Native Plant Sale on 08/18 near Baltimore. He is bringing Plumleaf Azalea, he does not ship.
There are 13 vendors there and only half of them carry woodies. PL Azalea is choice and will be snatched up quickly so get there early. Admission to plant sale is free.

Here is a link that might be useful: Irvine Native Plant Sale 08/18

    Bookmark   August 13, 2007 at 8:47AM
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I have had one for a while but it's never bloomed. However this summer I was fortunate to see several in bloom at Jenkins arboretum in Devon Pennsylvania around July 21. I took a picture of it because I had never seen one in person.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2007 at 11:14AM
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Great photo, sarahbn!
Wonder how they prevent the Black Vine Weevils from notching all of the leaves? Or do you not have that pest in PA? They do a number on all of my Rhododendron's every year.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2007 at 12:22PM
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Yes! I want mine to look like that!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2007 at 12:36PM
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