Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!


Plant Database

Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

Enter a Plant Name:
Or choose a plant family:
Rhododendron prinophyllum (Early azalea)
Muller, Thomas L.

Rhododendron prinophyllum

Rhododendron prinophyllum (Small) Millais

Early Azalea, Roseshell Azalea, Woolly Azalea

Ericaceae (Heath Family)

Synonym(s): Azalea prinophylla, Rhododendron nudiflorum var. roseum, Rhododendron roseum


USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Early azalea or roseshell azalea is a 6-12 ft. tall and wide, multi-stemmed shrub, with picturesque, ascending branching. Funnel-shaped, light pink or purplish flowers with protruding stamens occur in large clusters, appearing before or with the leaves. Smooth, blue-green, deciduous foliage turns purplish in fall.

This azalea is extremely hardy with marked tolerance to high pH.


From the Image Gallery

10 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Size Class: 6-12 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: May , Jun


USA: AL , AR , CT , GA , IL , KY , MA , MD , ME , MO , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , TN , TX , VA , VT , WV
Native Distribution: NH to s. Que., s. to n.w. NC & KY; also s. IL to e. TX
Native Habitat: Damp thickets; open woods; shores

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
Soil Description: Thin, well-drained soils.
Conditions Comments: This azalea is extremely hardy with marked tolerance to high pH. Good cultural practices reduce the incidence of disease and insect damage.

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Bumble Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.


Description: Combine seeds loosely with sphagnum moss and sprinkle lightly over a 2:1 perlite/peat mixture. Germinate under mist or a plastic tent. Optimum temperatures for germination are 45-50 degrees. Transplant seedlings to acid soil with a high content of orga
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: No pretreatment is necessary.
Commercially Avail: yes

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Native Plant Center at Westchester Community College, The - Valhalla, NY
Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

Additional resources

USDA: Find Rhododendron prinophyllum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Rhododendron prinophyllum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Rhododendron prinophyllum


Record Modified: 2021-01-28
Research By: TWC Staff

Go back