Rhododendron schlippenbachii

royal azalea

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

Outstanding Qualities

Royal azalea, as its common name suggests, is top class. Its branching structure is shapely and well-balanced, creating a pleasing winter form. Its leaves are held in groups of five, appearing in spring in whorls of pale green flushed with pinkish bronze. As these lovely leaves emerge, its branches are decked with saucer-shaped pink flowers - the exact shade varies depending on the individual plant - that are speckled with reddish brown on their upper petal. In autumn these rounded leaves turn brilliant orange. Royal azalea is truly a four-season plant. Its elegance and distinctive beauty earn it a spot in every shaded garden.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: shrub

Foliage Type: deciduous

Plant Height: 4 ft. 0 in. (1.22 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 4 ft. 0 in. (1.22 meters)

Plant Height-Mature: 6 ft. 0 in. (1.83 meters)

Plant Width-Mature: 6 ft. 0 in. (1.83 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 5 to 8

Flower Color: pink

Sun/Light Exposure: light or open shade; morning sun/afternoon shade for best flowering

Water Requirements: frequent to regular watering

Seasonal Interest: delicate pink flowers in spring & fall foliage color

Colors & Combos

Great Color Contrasts: cream, silver, gold

Great Color Partners: bronze, dark green, chartreuse

Culture Notes
Royal azalea grows best in light to open shade and protected from hot afternoon sun. Plant it in a site with rich well-drained or sandy soil. Azaleas are shallow-rooted plants requiring regular watering during dry weather. Faded flowers often drop off or are quickly covered by new growth. Almost no pruning is needed to keep azaleas looking good. Adult root weevils can chew on their leaves, but this is less of a problem on plants that receive more light and regular watering.