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Rhododendron periclymenoides

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Kemper Code:  A750

Common Name: pinxterbloom azalea
Zone: 4 to 9
Plant Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Ericaceae
Missouri Native: No
Native Range: Eastern United States
Height: 3 to 6 feet
Spread: 4 to 7 feet
Bloom Time: April - May   Bloom Data
Bloom Color: White or pink
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low

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Plant Culture and Characteristics

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  Uses:       Wildlife:   Flowers:   Leaves:   Fruit:
Hedge Suitable as annual Attracts birds Has showy flowers Leaves colorful Has showy fruit
Shade tree Culinary herb Attracts Has fragrant flowers Leaves fragrant Fruit edible
Street tree Vegetable   hummingbirds Flowers not showy Good fall color   Other:
Flowering tree Water garden plant Attracts Good cut flower Evergreen Winter interest
Gr. cover (<1') Will naturalize   butterflies Good dried flower     Thorns or spines

General Culture:

Best grown in acidic, humusy, organically rich, medium moisture, moisture-retentive but well-drained soils in part shade. Tolerates dryish, sandy or rocky soils. Prefers a sun dappled or high open shade. Tolerant of sun in cool summer climates, but leaves may scorch in hot afternoon sun in hot summer climates such as the St. Louis area. Good soil drainage is essential (doesn’t like “wet feet”). Poor drainage inevitably leads to root rot, therefore raised beds/plantings should be considered in heavy clay soils such as those present in much of the St. Louis area. Shallow, fibrous root systems (do not cultivate around plants) will benefit greatly from a mulch (e.g., wood chips, bark or pine needles) to help retain moisture and stabilize soil temperatures. Acidify soils as needed. Clip off spent flower clusters immediately after bloom as practicable.

Noteworthy Characteristics:

Pinxterbloom azalea is a deciduous shrub that is native to moist woods, swamp margins and open areas from Massachusetts to South Carolina and Tennessee. It is a dense, bushy, suckering shrub that typically grows 2-6’ (less frequently to 10’) tall. Clusters of soft pink to white to lavender, slightly fragrant, funnel-shaped flowers (to 1.5” across), each with 5 long curved stamens, bloom in April immediately preceding the emergence of the foliage. Oblong to elliptic green leaves. Pinxter means Pentecost (seventh Sunday after Easter) in Dutch, in reference to the bloom time for this shrub. Synonymous with and formerly known as R. nudiflorum.


Rhododendrons and azaleas are susceptible to many insect and disease problems, including but not limited to canker, crown rot, root rot, leaf spot, rust, powdery mildew, aphids, borers, lacebugs, leafhoppers, mealybugs, mites, nematodes, scale, thrips and whitefly. A healthy plant in the proper environment with proper care should have limited problems, however. This U. S. native has better resistance to the aformentioned problems than many of the hybrid azaleas in commerce.


Mass, group or specimen. Shrub borders, mixed borders, woodland gardens and shade gardens. Also effective in foundation plantings or as a hedge.

© Missouri Botanical Garden, 2001-2011

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