Flame Azalea (Rhododendron calendulaceum)

Flame Azalea is a native, deciduous shrub that grows to eight feet tall and blooms during May and June with orange, yellow and red flowers. It is blooming right now in the Cherokee Garden here in Cobb County, Georgia. It likes acidic, well drained soils in part shade. It does not grow well in locations with high summer temperatures. The foliage may wither in full sun or if you are in draught conditions. Take a soil sample and test for acid levels prior to planting and look for a location where the Flame Azalea will not be in the hot afternoon sun. The flowers are very showy and it is a big invitation to bring butterflies into the garden. Many plant nurseries are now offering more native azaleas and they are available on line.

The Cherokee would peel and boil the twigs and then apply the residue to areas effected by rheumatism. A fungus apple that can sometimes grow on the Flame Azalea was eaten to appease thirst. They also used the flowers to decorate their homes.

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