Western Azalea

Rhododendron occidentale

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Western Azalea (Rhododendron occidentale) at Martin's Home & Garden

Western Azalea flowers

Western Azalea flowers

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Western Azalea (Rhododendron occidentale) at Martin's Home & Garden

Western Azalea in bloom

Western Azalea in bloom

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  10 feet

Spread:  10 feet

Sunlight:  full sun  partial shade 

Hardiness Zone:  6b


Rich and lovely white blooms with a hint of pink, feature a prominent yellow blotch; blooming in late spring the flowers have a lovely fragrance and are in bountiful clusters; delightful as a landscape accent; fall leaves turn yellow, scarlet, or crimson

Ornamental Features

Western Azalea is smothered in stunning clusters of fragrant white trumpet-shaped flowers with shell pink overtones and a gold blotch at the ends of the branches in late spring, which emerge from distinctive pink flower buds before the leaves. It has green foliage which emerges light green in spring. The glossy narrow leaves turn an outstanding yellow in the fall. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.

Landscape Attributes

Western Azalea is an open multi-stemmed deciduous shrub with a more or less rounded form. Its relatively coarse texture can be used to stand it apart from other landscape plants with finer foliage.

This is a relatively low maintenance shrub, and should only be pruned after flowering to avoid removing any of the current season's flowers. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Western Azalea is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • Mass Planting
  • General Garden Use

Planting & Growing

Western Azalea will grow to be about 10 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 10 feet. It tends to be a little leggy, with a typical clearance of 1 foot from the ground, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 40 years or more.

This shrub does best in full sun to partial shade. It requires an evenly moist well-drained soil for optimal growth, but will die in standing water. It is very fussy about its soil conditions and must have rich, acidic soils to ensure success, and is subject to chlorosis (yellowing) of the leaves in alkaline soils. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution, and will benefit from being planted in a relatively sheltered location. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in winter to protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This species is native to parts of North America.

Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight Soil pH Preference
Accent  Massing  Garden 
Flowers  Fall Color  Winter Value 
Ornamental Features