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Rhododendron prinophyllum

Roseshell Azalea/Early Azalea / syn. Rhododendron roseum

Renowned plant expert Dr. Michael Dirr finds this native azalea superior to pinxterbloom azalea and piedmont azalea. It is true that the fragrant, floral display of this plant is extraordinary in springtime. The pink flowers have a delightful, clove-like fragrance. Does well in high, understory shade with well drained to moist soils. This extremely hardy azalea is tolerant of soils with a higher pH. Roseshell azalea grows to 3-8’ tall with bright green foliage. Song- and game birds eat the seed. A great companion for other woodland shrubs like mountain laurel, witchhazel and flowering dogwoods. 

Benefits

  • Wonderfully fragrant, pink flowers bloom in May
  • More tolerant of high pH soils than other azaleas
  • Song- and game birds eat the seed
  • Great for moist shady spots in your garden
  • Very cold hardy

Homeowner Growing and Maintenance Tips

Ideally, azaleas like morning sun and filtered shade during the hottest part of the day. They can tolerate more sun if moisture is available. They prefer evenly moist yet well-drained soil, making them perfect for a woodland slope where the water would drain well. Rhododendrons and azaleas need slightly acidic soil that is rich in organic matter but this azalea will tolerate a higher pH. Mulching helps keep the soil cool and moist. Prune after flowering if needed. 


 


Height
3-8 ft

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Spread
3-8 ft

USDA Hardiness Zone (3) 4-8

Native Range

Found in damp thickets, open woods and along shores.

Characteristics & Attributes

Shade
Sun
Songbirds
Plan Sub Group
Medium to Tall Shrubs
Exposure
Filtered Shade
Morning Sun / Afternoon Shade
Soil
Acidic
Well-drained
Wide soil tolerance
Soil Moisture Preference
Average
Moist
Moist but well-drained
Attracts Wildlife
Mammals
Bloom Time
Early Spring
Late Spring / Early Summer
Habitat Collection
Songbird
Native Habitat
Forest
Foliage Color
Dark Green
Uses
Accent
Border
Cut or dried flower
Fragrant
Hedge, screen
Mass plant
Naturalizes
Specimen
Native to
Alabama
Arkansas
Connecticut
Georgia
Illinois
Kentucky
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Missouri
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New York
North Carolina
Ohio
Oklahoma
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
Tennessee
Texas
Vermont
Virginia
West Virginia