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green ASA logo with pink azalea


 native azaleas    bloom times | sources | related pages


North America has 17 native species of azaleas. They are native to the southeastern United States, except for Rhododendron occidentale and Rhododendron canadense as further noted under bloom times. All are deciduous. Clarence Towe devised a mnemonic to help remember them, which is "1, 2, 3, 4, 5":
  • 1 West coast azalea - occidentale (pictures)
  • 2 Odd pinks - canadense, vaseyi
  • 3 Fragrant pinks - canescens, periclymenoides, prinophyllum
  • 4 Fragrant whites - alabamense, arborescens, atlanticum, viscosum
  • 5 Orange reds - austrinum, calendulaceum, cumberlandense, flammeum, prunifolium
Rhododendron eastmanii was recognized as a new species in 1999, which negated the mnemonic by being a fifth fragrant white.
In 2008, Rhododendron colemanii was recognized as another new species, a fragrant white or pink, rarely yellow.
Perhaps "1, 2, 3, 4, 5; plus 2 more whites"?

The East Coast Native Azaleas website is a stunningly beautiful visual overview and identification key for the azalea species native to the eastern United States. It was prepared by Donald W. Hyatt using images from the Species Study Group of the Middle Atlantic Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society.

The Georgia Native Azaleas website is devoted to native azaleas, prepared by Earl Sommerville with excellent images of azaleas from his garden near Atlanta, Georgia.

The Azalea Society picture website has pictures of native azaleas and their hybrids.

A page of identifying characters for North American native azaleas is available for download (13KB PDF file), Adapted from Dr. Kathleen Kron's analyses of deciduous azaleas, this "cheat sheet" and a hand lens can help in identifying a native azalea in the wild. Don Hyatt has an interactive online version which describes each of these identifying characters, and shows how close the characters you've entered match each of the native azalea species..

 bloom times
(compiled and provided by Mike Creel)

American Native Azaleas (in order of bloom)
  [Ed. notes: bloom times in central South Carolina; name links to USDA Plant Profiles]

Hoary Azalea Rhododendron canescensMarch 25-April 25, pink to white, most common species
Florida Azalea* Rhododendron austrinumMarch 25-April 25, yellow to orange, fragrant, native to GA, AL, FL
Pinkshell Azalea* Rhododendron vaseyiApril 5-22, pink to white, upper Piedmont & mountains [[Ed. note: 3-4 weeks later in the mountains]
Oconee Azalea Rhododendron flammeumApril 15-May 15, orange to red, withstands heat, drought
Alabama Azalea* Rhododendron alabamenseApril 22- May 15, white, blooms before leaves
Coast Azalea Rhododendron atlanticumApril 22-May 11, white to pink, midlands-coast, spreads
Pinxterflower Rhododendron periclymenoidesApril 22-May 16, pink to white, does well statewide
May White Rhododendron eastmaniiMid-May, white, yellow blotch, fragrant, blooms after leaves [Ed. note: A new species, named and documented by Kathleen Kron and Mike Creel, 1999]
Red Hills Azalea* Rhododendron colemanii (402 KB PDF) Early to Mid-May, white or pink, rarely yellow, yellow blotch or not, fragrant, blooms after leaves [Ed. note: A new species, named by Ron Miller, documented by Tom Ranney, Ron Miller, et al, 2008]
Roseshell Azalea* Rhododendron prinophyllumMay, suitable only for high altitudes
Swamp Azalea Rhododendron viscosumMay 16-June 16, white, fragrant, likes wet sites
Flame Azalea Rhododendron calendulaceumMay 28-June 25, orange to red, Piedmont & mountains
Cumberland Azalea* Rhododendron cumberlandenseJune-July, orange-red, upper Piedmont & mountains, cool
Sweet Azalea Rhododendron arborescensJune 15-Aug 15, white, fragrant, very smooth all over
Plumleaf Azalea* Rhododendron prunifoliumJune 25-Sept. 10, red to orange, smooth foliage, Georgia native
Hammocksweet Azalea Rhododendron viscosum var. serrulatumJuly 12-Aug 30, white, fragrant, often forms colonies
__________
*Species not native to South Carolina. Listed species will grow well in South Carolina with exceptions explained.

All American species are listed here except for Rhododendron canadense (Rhodora, native from Canada south to Pa and NJ) and Rhododendron occidentale (Western Azalea, native to northern CA, WA, OR).

 sources
(compiled and provided by Mike Creel)

Listed below are a few nurseries that sell native azalea seedlings, cultivars and other native plants.

Woodlanders
1128 Colleton Ave.
Aiken, SC 29801 Mail Order
(Phone 803-648-7522) Catalog $2
Nurseries Caroliniana
100 E. Hugh Street (off US 25)
North Augusta, SC 29841
(Phone 803-279-2707)
Wayside Gardens
1 Garden Lane
Hodges, SC 29695
(Ordering 1-800-845-1124)
http://www.waysidegardens.com
Oak Hill Farm, Mrs. Betsy Johnson
205 Thomas Road
Clover, SC 29710
Native Azaleas, Catalog $1
(Phone 803-222-4245)
Wavering Place Gardens & Nursery
Route 2 Box 269, Adams-Haynes Road    
Eastover, SC 29044
Julian Adams, (Phone 803-783-1682)
Send SASE for descriptive price list
Sterling Garden Center
PO Box 5996, Columbia, SC 29250
320 Senate St., Columbia, SC 29201
Fran & Walter Bull, local sales
(Phone 803-252-7333)
(Fax 803-779-7861)
We-Du Nurseries
Rt. 5 Box 724
Marion, NC 28752
Plants, Catalog $2
(Phone 828-738-8300)
http://www.we-du.com
Virginia Natives
PO Box D
Hume, VA 22639
Plants, Catalog $1.25
(Phone 540-364-1665)
Pushepetappa Gardens
2317 Washington Street
Franklinton, LA 70438
(Phone John Thornton 504-839-4930)
Thomasville Nurseries
PO Box 7
Thomasville, GA 31799-0007
(Phone 912-226-5568)
Lamtree Farm, Lee A. Morrison
2323 Copeland Road
Warrensville, NC 28693
Woody plants, Catalog $2
(Phone 919-385-6144)
Native Gardens
Ed & Meridith Clebsch
5737 Fisher Lane
Greenback, TN 37742
Plants & Seeds Catalog $2
(Phone 423-856-0220)
Salter Tree Farm
Rt. 2, Box 1332
Madison, FL 32340
(Phone 904-973-6312)
The Cummins Garden
22 Robertsville Road
Marlboro, NJ 07746
Catalog $1
(Phone 732-536-2591)
Fairweather Gardens
PO Box 330
Greenwich, NJ 08323
Pitcher plants, plants Catalog $3
(Phone 609-451-6261)
Fern Valley Farms
1624 Fern Valley Road
Yadkinville, NC 27955
SASE with 64 cents postage
Woody Plants
(Phone 336-463-2412)
Appalachian Native Plants, Inc.
676 Waddell Road
Mountain City TN 37683
(Phone 423-727-4264)
www.appalachiannativeplants.com
appalnativeplants@gmail.com
Crownsville Nursery
PO Box 797
Crownsville, MD 21032
(Phone 410-849-3142)
Plants, Free Catalog
www.crownsvillenursery.com
Mail-Order Natives
PO Box 9366
Lee, FL 32059
(Phone 850-973-4688)
monatives@aol.com
Lazy K Nursery, Inc.
705 Wright Road
Pine Mountain, GA?31822
(706) 663-4991
http://www.lazyknursery.com
mail@lazyknursery.com
#CALL NURSERIES BEFORE VISITING.


 related pages
locations . . . (a database of native azaleas in the wild . . . someday)
azaleas (parent page)

Updated September 11, 2010

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