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Rhododendron viscosum

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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, loam, clay, sand

Height: 3'-8'

Bloom Time: May, June, July, August

Bloom Color: white, pink

Leaf Color: green

Hardiness Zone: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Additional Tags: attracts birds, bog plant, fragrant flowers, pond margin plant, shade garden plant, stream margin plant, swamp plant, wetland plant

Rhododendron viscosum (swamp azalea)
  • Rhododendron viscosum (swamp azalea)
  • Rhododendron viscosum (swamp azalea)
  • Rhododendron viscosum (swamp azalea)
  • Rhododendron viscosum (swamp azalea)

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Description

Rhododendron viscosum

Also known as:

swamp azalea

,

clammy azalea

,

swamp honeysuckle

Scientific Synonyms:

Azalea serrulata, Azalea viscosa, Rhododendron coryi, Rhododendron serrulatum

Description

Rhododendron viscosum is a slow growing, late blooming azalea with a flowering period from June to July. Blooms are white or pinkish, with a sweet fragrance. The word viscosum, means sticky, and is a reference to the flower' characteristically sticky corolla. This is a low growing species with a loose, spreading form, that typically only reaches a height of 5'. Autumn will bring on a good show, with the foliage developing attractive shades of yellow, orange, red, and purple.

Cultivation

It is native to swamp margins and low lying areas of the eastern coastal plains, ranging from the Gulf coast in the south, and as far north as southern Maine. This azalea requires consistently moist soil, and can withstand seasonal to regular inundation. Best grown in acidic soil and filtered light. If grown under average garden conditions, it is recommended to maintain a few inches of mulch around the base of the plant to help retain adequate soil moisture. This species is very heat tolerant, and also quite cold hardy. Zones 5-9

Propagation

Can be propagated from seed with no pretreatment required. Can also be propagated by layering or cuttings taken early in the growing season.

Additional Notes

Swamp azalea is underutilized and difficult to find commercially. It should be considered rare, or endangered, in the northern part of it's native range.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:
AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, LA, MA, MD, ME, MS, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WV

USDA Endangered Status:

  • Endangered: ME
  • Exploitably Vulnerable: NY
  • Threatened: NH

Classification

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 viscosum swamp azalea