|Monday Melange: Pinxter Flower Azalea|
|Written by Heleigh Bostwick Monday, 18 June 2012|
Pinxter Flower Azalea, Rhododendron periclymenoides (synonymous with R. nudiflorum) is a deciduous shrub known for its beautiful pink to pale pink to nearly white flowers that bloom in April and May. A member of the Heath family (Ericaceae), Pinxter Flower Azalea is native to the piedmont, coastal plain and lower Appalachian mountain regions of the Eastern United States, growing from Massachusetts to northern Georgia and Alabama.
Preferring rich, moist soils the Pinxter Flower Azalea, which is sometimes referred to as Pink Azalea or Pinxterbloom Azalea, is an understory shrub frequenting woodlands, thickets, or swamp margins. It is hardy between USDA zones 4 and 8 and grows to a height of 2 to 7 feet.
The fragrant pink flowers grow in clusters and appear before or with the bright green leaves. The flowers are quite large and showy measuring 1.5 to 2 inches in size with the centers being a darker rosy pink color and the stamens extending beyond the petals. Pinxter Flower Azalea is often confused with R. canescens, the Florida Pinxter Azalea, which grows from Tennessee south to Florida and west to Louisiana.
As with most azaleas and rhododendrons, Pinxter Flower Azalea prefers slightly acidic soils and does well in shade conditions as well as full to partial sun. Ideal for planting at the edge of a woodland garden or under a forest canopy, as well as specimen planting where there are north and east facing aspects.