Rhododendron arborescens - Sweet Azalea, Smooth Azalea

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Butterfly FriendlyRain GardenPart ShadeFall Color
Sweet Azalea, Smooth Azalea
Rhododendron arborescens

This azalea adds a delicate and refined character to the garden. The floral display in late spring and early summer is fantastic. White flowers blushed with pink have protruding red stamens and a delicious scent. Try combining them with summersweet and goldflame honeysuckle to have a fragrant garden all season long. The shiny, deep green foliage takes on an orange to crimson fall color. Attracts butterflies and native bees.

  • White to blush pink flowers are breathtaking and very fragrant
  • Sweet Azalea is fast growing compared to other native azalea
  • Attracts butterflies, bees, and other beneficial insects
  • It is one of the hardiest native white azaleas
  • Lustrous dark green foliage turns orange to crimson in fall

Native Range

Found in swamp forests, mountain bogs and stream banks in the Piedmont.

Map Credit: The Biota of North America 
Map Key: Green (native), Teal (native, adventive), Blue (present), Yellow (present & rare), Red (extinct)


The queen bee can live up to 5 years and her role is to fill the hive with eggs. She is the busiest in the summer months when the hive needs to be at its maximum strength, she lays up to 2500 eggs per day. The queen bee has control over whether she lays male or female eggs.



Ideally, azaleas like morning sun and filtered shade during the hottest part of the day. They can tolerate more sun if moisture is available. They prefer evenly moist yet well-drained soil, making them perfect for a woodland slope where the water would drain well. Rhododendrons and azaleas need slightly acidic soil that is rich in organic matter. Mulching helps keep the soil cool and moist. Prune after flowering if needed.  


Mature Size: 4-10ft. Tall x 4-10ft. Wide

Hardiness Zone: 4-7

Sun Exposure: Part Shade

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