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Chapman's Rhododendron: Rare Evergreen Native Shrub

Rhododendron Chapmanii, Chapman's Rhododendron
Evergreen Rhododendron Native to Florida
The rarest rhododendron of all might also be the most beautiful! I have grown native azaleas in my garden for years, but I did not even know an evergreen native rhododendron existed until recently.

The beautiful green foliage has a reddish tint in early Spring.

Rhododendron Chapmanii is the only evergreen rhododendron native to Florida, and actually there are only a few evergreen species of rhododendron native to the United States. 

Chapman's Rhododendron is very rare, and is probably the most rare of all wild rhododendrons in North America. This rhododendron is an endangered species, so if you are lucky enough to find some growing wild, it is illegal to dig them up or disturb them in any way.

The beautiful rose pink flowers appearing in Spring are exquisite. The blooms are borne in clusters and look like bouquets on the tips of the branches.

Chapman's Rhododendron occurs naturally only in Florida, but it can be grown anywhere in USDA Zones 5b - 8.

Rhododendron Chapmanii prefers dappled shade beneath pines or hardwoods. 

All rhododendrons need well-drained soil, but Chapman's Rhododendron will need regular water.

I would not give it much direct sun. Afternoon sun would burn the lovely green foliage. 

To obtain this rare native plant for your garden, please visit Shady Gardens Nursery.





Oconee Azalea: Rhododendron Flammeum


We are very excited about the newest plant to our garden this year. Oconee Azalea is a deciduous native azalea with brightly colored blooms in several different hues. I have spent several years searching for this shrub.

Since it is unethical and often illegal to dig plants from the wild, we have been looking for a wholesale source for this plant in order to also offer it to other native azalea lovers.

Rhododendron Flammeum, formerly known as Speciosum, is commonly referred to as the Oconee Azalea and the Flame Azalea. Flammeum is a deciduous azalea native to the Piedmont region of Georgia and South Carolina.

Also often called the Flame Azalea, Rhododendron Flammeum displays bright flame-colored blooms in brilliant shades of apricot, coral, pink, orange, red, or yellow. Sometimes different shades even appear on different branches of the same shrub!

This species is all about variety. Not only can bloom color vary greatly, but growth habit can differ from one plant to another.  The Oconee Azalea ranges from a low mounding shrub to a tall tree-like form of 6  feet or more.

Blooms are not fragrant and appear usually sometime in April, after the Piedmont (Canescens) but before the Swamp and Alabama Azalea.

Flammeum can tolerate summer heat in gardens of the Deep South.

Hardiness: USDA Zones 6 – 9.

Site:  Part shade or filtered sunlight. High shade beneath tall hardwoods & pines is ideal.

Moisture: Regular water is best for optimum blooms and growth for year round beauty. Most azaleas are drought tolerant once they've been in the garden a few years.

Soil: Well-drained soil on the acidic side is important for all azaleas and rhododendrons. Amend the planting soil with compost or soil conditioner at planting time, especially if you have clay soil.

*Mulch well to retain moisture and keep the roots cool.  Azaleas have shallow roots close to the surface of the soil, so do not cultivate the soil after planting. 

A low groundcover beneath azaleas serves two purposes. Not only does a colorful groundcover accent the azalea, but also it will help to discourage weed growth. 

For more information on the Oconee Azalea as well as many other species Rhododendrons, please visit Shady Gardens Nursery.

Kerria: Japanese Thornless Rose or Yellow Rose of Texas

Every year without fail, one of the first plants to bloom in our garden is Kerria Japonica. Whether you call it Kerria, Japanese Rose, Thornless Rose, or the Yellow Rose of Texas, we can all agree that this plant is spectacular in the early Spring garden. 

Often blooming before Spring has really arrived, Kerria keeps on blooming for well over a month, and then slips in more flowers off and on throughout Spring, Summer, and early Fall as long as it's happy.

It doesn't take much to make a happy plant out of Kerria Japonica. Kerria grows well in either sun or shade. Provide well drained soil and regular water, and she will reward you with more blooms each and every year.

Blooms are a bright golden yellow. Our garden is fortunate to have two different varieties of Kerria. Pleniflora has double yellow blooms that resemble pompoms. Shannon blooms are single and look like the flowers of a true rose. 

Kerria Japonica is available online at Shady Gardens Nursery.