Rhododendron 'Girard's Rose'
Common Name: evergreen azalea
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Ericaceae
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 2.00 to 2.50 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 2.50 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Pink
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, humusy, organically rich, medium moisture, moisture-retentive but well-drained soils in part shade. Prefers locations with sun-dappled shade or morning sun with afternoon shade. Avoid hot afternoon sun. Plant in a location sheltered from strong winter winds. Good soil drainage is essential (doesn't like "wet feet"). Poor drainage can cause root rot, therefore raised plantings or beds should be considered in heavy clay soils. Shallow root system (avoid cultivating around shrub) appreciates a good organic mulch (e.g., bark, oak leaves or pine needles) to retain moisture and stabilize soil temperatures. Roots must not be allowed to dry out.

Noteworthy Characteristics

This evergreen azalea is a Girard hybrid developed and introduced by Girard Nurseries of Geneva, Ohio. It is an upright, low-growing shrub which typically reaches 2' tall with a similar spread after 7 years. Glossy, dark green foliage is evergreen, but acquires a reddish-orange tinge in winter. Clusters of large, rounded, wavy-lobed flowers (to 3" across) which are deep rose pink (reverse is yellowish-pink) appear in clusters in spring (April-May in the St. Louis area).

Problems

Rhododendrons and azaleas are susceptible to many insect and disease pests, including but not limited to canker, crown rot, root rot, leaf spot, rust, powdery mildew, aphids, borers, lacebugs, leafhoppers, mealy bugs, mites, nematodes, scale, thrips and whitefly. Chlorosis (a yellowing of the leaves while the veins remain green) may occur if soil is not kept acidic. A healthy plant in the proper environment in good soil with proper care should have limited problems, however.

Garden Uses

Mass or group in shrub or mixed borders or woodland gardens. Good specimen value. Also effective as a foundation planting or low hedge.