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Tuesday - February 10, 2009

From: Severn, MD
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Native shrub to replace non-native azaleas.
Answered by: Joe Marcus


I want to replace my two dozen azaleas this spring (I think they're unattractive once the flowers fall off). I like the multiseason characteristics of weigela (midnight wine, W&R), but want to go native. Can you suggest a native alternative to these compact oriental beauties?


Among the most difficult requests we receive are those for landscape plant recommendations..  Some of the issues to consider when choosing a new plant for your landscape are how the landscape will is used, how the plant will fit with other plants and features in the landscape, ultimate size of the new plant, soil, water, nutrition and maintenance needs of the plant, potential insect, disease, and pets and children poisoning problems, and, of course, personal aesthetic considerations.  Unfortunately, we cannot answer many of those questions; only you, the owner can do that.  However, we can make some suggestions for some plants that might work for you.  Here is a list of selected Maryland native plant species.  One or more of these plants might work for you as a replacement for your azaleas.

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry),

Calycanthus floridus (eastern sweetshrub),

Ceanothus americanus (New Jersey tea),

Clethra alnifolia (coastal sweetpepperbush),

Diervilla lonicera (northern bush honeysuckle),

Eubotrys racemosa (swamp doghobble),

Hypericum prolificum (shrubby St. Johnswort)

Ilex glabra (inkberry)

Itea virginica (Virginia sweetspire),

Paxistima canbyi (Canby's mountain-lover),

Physocarpus opulifolius (common ninebark),

Rhododendron arborescens (smooth azalea),

Rhododendron calendulaceum (flame azalea),

Rhododendron prinophyllum (early azalea),

Rhododendron viscosum (swamp azalea),

Spiraea alba (white meadowsweet),

Spiraea betulifolia (white spirea),

Spiraea tomentosa (steeplebush),

Symphoricarpos albus (common snowberry),

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (coralberry),

Vaccinium angustifolium (lowbush blueberry)


Callicarpa americana

Calycanthus floridus

Ceanothus americanus


Clethra alnifolia











Diervilla lonicera

Eubotrys racemosa








Hypericum prolificum


Ilex glabra

Itea virginica

Paxistima canbyi

Physocarpus opulifolius

Rhododendron arborescens

Rhododendron calendulaceum

Rhododendron prinophyllum

Rhododendron periclymenoides

Spiraea alba

Spiraea tomentosa

Symphoricarpos albus

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus

Vaccinium angustifolium




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