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Catawba Rhododendron

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Catawba Rhododendron (Rhododendron catawbiense) – A broadleaf evergreen shrub with pretty light purple flowers in spring and an upright rounded habit, quite hardy, does well in partial shade; absolutely must have well-drained, highly acidic and organic soil, use Acid Lover’s Mix when planting.

Characteristics

Average Landscape Height:
9 feet
Average Landscape Width:
7 feet
Growth Rate:
slow
Genus:
Rhododendron
Species:
catawbiense
Flower Color:
lilac
Flower Period:
in mid spring
Summer Foliage Color:
green
Minimum Light:
partial shade
Maximum Light:
full sun
Minimum Moisture:
moist
Maximum Moisture:
moist
Plant Form:
upright spreading
Canopy:
leggy
Pruning:
prune after flowering
Pollution Tolerance:
medium
Branching:
multi-stemmed
Evergreen:
1
Flower Bicolor:
rose
Flower Form:
trumpet

Ornamental Features

Catawba Rhododendron is blanketed in stunning clusters of lilac purple trumpet-shaped flowers with rose overtones and olive green spots at the ends of the branches in mid spring. It has green evergreen foliage. The large narrow leaves remain green throughout the winter.

Landscape Attributes

Catawba Rhododendron is a multi-stemmed evergreen shrub with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its relatively coarse texture can be used to stand it apart from other landscape plants with finer foliage.

Planting & Growing

Catawba Rhododendron will grow to be about 9 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 7 feet. It tends to be a little leggy, with a typical clearance of 1 foot from the ground, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 40 years or more.

This shrub does best in full sun to partial shade. You may want to keep it away from hot, dry locations that receive direct afternoon sun or which get reflected sunlight, such as against the south side of a white wall. It requires an evenly moist well-drained soil for optimal growth, but will die in standing water. It is very fussy about its soil conditions and must have rich, acidic soils to ensure success, and is subject to chlorosis (yellowing) of the foliage in alkaline soils. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution, and will benefit from being planted in a relatively sheltered location. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in winter to protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This species is native to parts of North America.

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