University of Illinois Extension
University of Illinois Extension - Selecting Shrubs for Your Home
Catawba Rhododendron
Rhododendron catawbiense
Catawba Rhododendron flowers

Size: medium

Exposure/ Light Requirements:
Full Shade required.
Full Shade
Full Sun not required.
Full Sun
Partial Sun/Shade required.
Partial Sun/Shade
Pests and Problems:

Bacterial Disease

Environmental Damage

Fungal Disease

Herbicide Injury

Insect Damage

A number of diseases and insects can attack this species; the most serious are black vine weevil, borers, leaf blights and spots.

Alkaline soil will lead to chlorosis (yellowing) of the leaves; winter sun and wind can be damaging to the evergreen foliage.

Hardiness Zone: 4 - 7 
Mature Height: 6-12 Feet
Mature Width: 6-12 Feet
Features: Large clusters of flowers (color depends on cultivar selected) in late spring; leaves are evergreen and leathery.
Culture: Partial to full shade; moist, well drained soil is best; needs acid soil.

Incredible number of cultivars available. Check local nurseries for cultivars available in your area.

Common Groups of Hybrid Rhododendrons

'Girard' Hybrids: This large group of azaleas includes both deciduous and evergreen cultivars. They vary in flower color and winter hardiness.

'Knapp Hill' Hybrids: The result of crosssing several species of Rhododendron. A large group including 'Knapp Hill', 'Exbury', 'Slocock' and 'Ilam' Hybrids. These azaleas are deciduous. Flower color depends on the cultivar selected. Mildew can be a problem with this group. Hardiness zones 5 to 7.

'Northern Lights' Hybrids: Developed at University of Minnesota. These hybrids were selected for excellent cold hardiness (to -30 degrees). These azaleas are deciduous. Flower color depends on cultivar selected.

'P.J.M.' Hybrids:A group of hybrids that are known for their compact size (3-6 ffet) and their flower color (shades of lavender pink to mauve). These rhododendrons are evergreen, with the foliage taking on a purplish cast in winter. Hardiness zones 5 to 7.

Mature Form: Usually rounded, but can become more upright and leggy.
Native To: United States
Soil Conditions:
Soil condition: Moist, Well-DrainedMoist, Well-Drained
Alkaline Soil
Dry Sites
Soil Compaction
Wet Sites
Use for: Border.Border
Use for: Massing.Massing
Use for: Naturalizing.Naturalizing
Use for: Screen.Screen
Use for: Specimen.Specimen
Foliage Color: Green
Fall Foliage Color: Green
Additional Notes: For more information on rhododendrons, visit the American Rhododendron Society website at

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