Rhododendron Canascens

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The genus rhododendron consists of many species but Rhododendron canescens gives the most beautiful flowers of all of them. The word canescens is from the latin �canescen� which means �becoming gray�. This refers to the dense hairs found on the twigs and leaves of this plant, giving them a grey appearance. It is quite easy to identify this plant from its pubescent leaves, the densely hairy twigs and the light pink to dark purple flowers it shows. It is commonly known by gardeners as Pinxter azalea.

Appearance

Rhododendron canescens is an open, loose deciduous shrub that grows upright and has many branches. It forms clumps slowly by sending suckers up from its underground runners. It has alternate leaves that have short hairs on the margins. It can grow to heights between six and fifteen feed and widths between six to ten feet. It is multi trunked and the dark green leaves turn a bright, rusty red colour during the fall.

Fragrant, very showy pink flowers appear at stem ends in early spring, about the time the leaves come out. The corolla tube of the flowers is densely stipitate glandular externally.

Flowers and fruits

In early spring, the stems of this plant will end in very fragrant, showy pink flowers, at about the same time that the leaves finally emerge. The flowers are tubular and spread out into five narrow, lobed petals. The stamens and pistils extend in arching curves over the corolla, which is densely glandular on the outside. Sometimes these plants have flowers that are almost pure white with just a slight tinge of pink, but more often that not the flowers are a rosy pink colour. The plant flowers from March to May.

Popularity

These plants are popular for semi shady woodlands and natural gardens as well as a specimen shrub to be planted anywhere you please. It is loved by homeowners because it can give you a splash of colour amongst the other evergreen shrubs and gives a delicate fragrance during early spring time. Its cut flowers are popular for use in arrangements and it is quickly becoming the favourite wild shrub of many south eastern US naturalists.

Habitat

This plant can be found growing naturally in savannahs, swamp margins, stream banks, swamp forests, hammocks and wooded slopes. It is native to North America and is the most common wild azalea in the sourth eastern United States. It can be found in Tennessee, central Florida, North Carolina, and east Texas. Alabama is very abundant with this attractive species of plant.

Care Tips

This plant requires acidic soil and if your soil is even slightly alkaline you cannot grow it successfully. You should never add lime if you�re growing this plant. These plants grow best if there is plenty of organic mulch in the soil. You can pile pine needles or leaves over the root area of this plant and because they have shallow roots you cannot cultivate them. These plants need full shade to partial sun, and tend to be bushier if it gets more sun. The soil also needs to be quite moist. It cannot tolerate drought.

Gardening Articles: http://organicgardenarticles.com/

Author: Dennis Sons
www.tennesseewholesalenursery.com

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