Flame Azalea

Scientific Name: Rhododendron calendulaceum

Light:  Part Sun

Zone:  5 to 7

Height:  5 to 9 feet

Width: 8 to 10 feet

Flowers:  May to June, yellow, orange, red, showy

Fruit/Seed:  August to February, brown capsule

Fall Color:  yellow green

Butterflies:  The flowers attract butterflies.

Birds:  Provides shelter, nesting sites and insects for many kinds of birds.

Hummingbird:  The flowers attract hummingbirds.

Deer Resistant:  No, frequently, severely damaged

Insects/Pollinators:  The flowers attract pollinators especially bumblebees.

Native: According to Forest Service, although historically reported in Maryland, no existing populations are known.  USDA map shows only in Frederick & Garrett counties.

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The flame azalea is notable for its large, showy, mid-spring flowers and is  the most widely cultivated native American species of azalea.  This species is one of the parents of the well known Ghent Hybrids and Exbury Hybrids.  Use as a shrub border, for massing and naturalizing.

Azaleas are shallow-rooted and transplant easily in spring or early fall if well balled with soil.  A good mulch is recommended.  Although planting nursery stock is the easiest way to grow flame azalea, the species can be propagated by cuttings, layering, or seeds. Cuttings and separated layers cannot be set out until the second year.

Flame Azaleas are susceptible to insect and disease problems.  In warmer areas, protect from afternoon sun as full sun may scorch leaves.  Consider planting high as roots rot if soil does not drain well.  A healthy plant in the right place with proper maintenance should have few problems.


‘Chattooga’ – hybrid, pink blooms with a yellow blotch.

‘Cherokee’ – apricot petals and yellow stamens on flowers.

‘Golden Sunset Flame’ – flowers a blend of orange, yellow and gold.

‘Golden Yellow Flame’ – Large yellow flowers with gold blotches.

‘Smokey Mountaineer’ – compact, orange-red blooms, good red fall color.

‘Wahsega’ – dark red blooms.


Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping: Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Flame Azalea – USDA

Flame Azalea – Missouri Botanical Garden

Flame Azalea – University of Connecticut Plant Database

Landscape Plants Rated by Deer Resistance – Rutgers

Flame Azalea – Virginia Native Plant Society

Flame Azalea – North Carolina State Extension

Flame Azalea – USDA Forest Service

Recommended for Wildlife by

Gardening for the Birds by George Adams

Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping: Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Attracting Wildlife – HGIC

Bringing Nature Home by Tallamy

Essential Native Trees and Shrubs for the Eastern United States by Dove & Woolridge


University of Connecticut Plant Database, http://hort.uconn.edu/plants, Mark H. Brand, Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Storrs, CT 06269-4067 USA.

Nick Turland, CC BY-NC-ND – 2.0

Nick Turland, CC BY-NC-ND – 2.0

dogtooth77, CC BY-NC-SA – 2.0

JR P, CC BY-NC-2.0

Additional information


Zone 5, Zone 6, Zone 7


Part Sun


Clay, Dry, Loam, Moist

Flower Color

Orange, Red, Yellow

Flower Season

Spring, Summer

Fruit Season

Fall, Summer, Winter



Wildlife Value

Beneficial Insects, Food for Birds, Hummingbird, Nectar, Nest Sites, Summer Cover

Notable Features

Rabbit Resistant

Local Availability

Not Available


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