Rhododendron atlanticum

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Plant types and subtypes: Trees & Shrubs, Shrubs, Deciduous

Light Requirements: part-sun, part-shade

Water Use: medium

Soil Moisture: moist, wet

Soil Description: acid, rich, average, loam, sand

Height: 2'-4'

Bloom Time: April, May

Bloom Color: white, pink

Leaf Color: blue-green

Hardiness Zone: 7, 8

Additional Tags: attracts bees, attracts birds, colonizing, deer resistant, fragrant flowers, naturalizing, poisonous, rock garden plant, shade garden plant

Flowers of Rhododendron atlanticum (coastal azalea)
  • Flowers of Rhododendron atlanticum (coastal azalea)
  • Flowers of Rhododendron atlanticum (coastal azalea)
  • Flowers of Rhododendron atlanticum (coastal azalea)
  • Flowers of Rhododendron atlanticum (coastal azalea)

Pricing & Availability


Rhododendron atlanticum

Also known as:

coastal azalea


dwarf azalea

Scientific Synonyms:

Azalea atlantica


Coastal azalea is a low growing, deciduous shrub that rarely growing taller than 4', hence it also goes by the name 'dwarf azalea'. This species can be distinguished by its blue-green foliage. Flowers are funnel-shaped, elongated, delicate, white with pink hues and have a pleasant, distinct fragrance reminiscent of clove. These appear in mid-spring, before or at the same time as the new foliage emerges.


Native to the coastal areas of the mid-Atlantic, Rhododendron atlanticum is an understory shrub. It does best in well drained, sandy, acidic soil in part sun. Because of its preference for sandy soil, and bog-like environments, supplemental watering may be required during dry spells. It spreads by means of stolons, or underground stems, to form large colonies. Heavier soil will restrict its spread. Blooms in spring: April and May. Zones 7-8


Easy to propagate by root division, or by digging up and separating suckers from mature plants. Can be propagated from seed. This is best achieved in a light, soilless medium, and in sealed containers to retain consistent moisture until germination.

Additional Notes

Given the appropriate growing requirements, this species is low maintenance, easy to grow, and very rewarding. It is underutilized and certainly worthy of more commercial attention. As with all rhododendrons, all parts of the plant are poisonous if ingested in large quantities. Individual reactions can be severe. This does however make certain species deer resistant.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:

USDA Endangered Status:

  • Endangered: NJ, PA


Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons
Subclass Dilleniidae
Order Ericales
Family Ericaceae Heath family
Genus Rhododendron rhododendron
Species Rhododendron atlanticum coastal azalea