Rhododendron 'Red Red'
Common Name: evergreen azalea
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Ericaceae
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: May
Bloom Description: Red
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Attracts: Hummingbirds, Butterflies
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Rabbit

Culture

Best grown in acidic, organically rich, humusy, medium moisture, moisture-retentive but well-drained soils in part shade. Prefers a sun dappled or high open shade. Morning sun with afternoon shade is also acceptable. Tolerates a fair amount of sun in cool northern summers, but leaves may scorch in hot afternoon sun in the St. Louis area. Plant in a location protected from strong winds. Plants perform well on north or east facing slopes. Do not site plants within or near the drip line of trees in the walnut family (most rhododendrons/azaleas are sensitive to toxic juglones produced by roots of walnuts, butternuts, pecans and hickories). Good soil drainage is essential (plants do not like “wet feet”). Poor drainage inevitably leads to root rot, therefore raised beds/plantings should be considered in heavy clay soils such as those present in much of the St. Louis area. Shallow, fibrous root systems (do not cultivate around plants) will benefit greatly from a mulch (e.g., wood chips, bark or pine needles) to help retain moisture and stabilize soil temperatures. Roots must never be allowed to dry out. Acidify soils as needed (plants generally like soil pH in the range of 5.0 to 5.5). Add sulfur or iron sulfate to soils to lower the pH. Add limestone or lime to soils to raise the pH. Clip off spent flower clusters immediately after bloom as practicable.

Noteworthy Characteristics

'Red Red' is an evergreen azalea (Shammarello hybrid) that features bright red flowers. It typically matures over time in a broad-upright but compact form to 2-3' tall and as wide. Single, funnel-shaped flowers (to 1 3/4" across) bloom in clusters in mid-season (May). Small, glossy, grayish olive-green leaves (to 1 1/2" long) are evergreen. Leaves acquire reddish-yellow tones in winter. Parents are R. 'Hino-red' x R. 'Ward's Ruby'. U. S. Plant Patent PP03,465 was issued on February 5, 1974.

Problems

Rhododendrons and azaleas are susceptible to many insect and disease problems, including but not limited to canker, crown rot, root rot, leaf spot, rust, powdery mildew, aphids, borers, lacebugs, leafhoppers, mealybugs, mites, nematodes, scale, thrips and whitefly. A healthy plant in the proper environment with proper care should have limited problems, however. Chlorosis (yellowing of leaves) will occur in alkaline soils.

Garden Uses

Mass, group or specimen. Shrub borders, mixed borders, woodland gardens and shade gardens. Also effective in foundation plantings or as a hedge. Woodland margins.