Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Cumberland Azalea, Cumberland Rhododendron
Rhododendron cumberlandense

Family: Ericaceae (er-ek-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Rhododendron (roh-do-DEN-dron) (Info)
Species: cumberlandense (kum-ber-land-EN-see) (Info)

Synonym:Rhododendron bakeri

» View all varieties of Azaleas and Rhododendrons

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36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Light Shade

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring
Mid Spring


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Flowers are fragrant

Patent Information:

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible

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By passiflora_pink
Thumbnail #1 of Rhododendron cumberlandense by passiflora_pink

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3 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive passiflora_pink On Apr 21, 2007, passiflora_pink from Shelby County, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:

Beautiful late summer bloomer. Mine grew in partial shade, lighting up the area with beautiful orange blossoms.

Positive rrizzi28 On Oct 23, 2005, rrizzi28 from Knoxville, TN wrote:

This azalea is often confused with the Flame Azalea. It is usually on the redder side of orange instead of the yellow side and blooms much later than Flame Azalea, even into midsummer. Its aspect is open and airy, not at all compact like commercial azaleas. It is a somewhat slow grower.

This shrub perfers some direct sunlight, and requires water in the heat of summer - leaves droop if too dry. Does not like to be disturbed once planted. Do not prune hard or plant may die entirely. I lost two; one due to my dog's tieout getting tangled in it and breaking off large branches, the other due to the mower getting too close. Other shrubs would have survived this treatment.

Does not propagate easily from cuttings. It is worth sowing your own seedlings to get a hillside of these showstoppers. Collect seed in November to December from the dried pods and sow fresh December to February. Seedlings will flower in the second year if given ideal conditions.

Positive Todd_Boland On Dec 9, 2004, Todd_Boland from St. John's, NL (Zone 5b) wrote:

This North American azalea is native from E. Kentucky to Tennessee south to N. Georgia and Alabama, growing in open woods at high elevations. The orange to red flowers are quite striking and the foliage is deep green. Unlike many North American azaleas, this one has no fragrance. It is one of the last to bloom, to it helps extend the azalea season.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Pelham, Alabama
Media, Pennsylvania
Conway, South Carolina
Rock Hill, South Carolina
Knoxville, Tennessee

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