Kaempfer's Azalea

Rhododendron kaempferi | Rating: 0 votes | Print / Pdf

This Azalea is as common in Japan as sushi rice & chopsticks

Rhododendron kaempferi or Torch of Kaempfer is the most common species of azalea in Japan. Most evergreen azaleas have an interesting pattern of leaf growth. They grow one set of leaves in spring, then another smaller set of leaves in the summer, which stay on the bush over winter. The flowers have papery bright pink, red or salmon coloured petals and grow in small clusters of two or three flowers. The species is named after a Dutch merchant called Englebert Kaempfer. It has been the basis of many impressive hybrids. This species is heat tolerant but the flower colour can fade in the sun, so plant it where it doesn't get too much direct sunlight.

Rate it:
Known dangers?
  • no
Height [m]
  • 3
Spread [m]
  • 1.5
Dominant flower colour
  • Red
Flower Fragrance
  • No, neutral please
Flowering seasons
  • Mid spring
  • Late spring
  • Early summer
Foliage in spring
  • Green
Foliage in summer
  • Green
Foliage in Autumn
  • Green
Foliage in winter
  • Green
Propagation methods
  • semi-ripe cuttings
  • layering
Growth habit
  • Branching
  • Erect
  • Acidic
Hardiness zone
  • Z6-9
Heat zone
  • H9-6
Winter temperatures [°C]
  • -23 - -1
Heat days
  • 45 - 150
  • well-drained
  • well-drained but frequently watered
Soil type
  • sandy
  • Clay
  • loams
Sun requirements
  • Full sun
  • Sheltered
Standard category
  • Trees & shrubs
  • Shrubs
Grown for
  • Attractive Flowers
Creative category
  • For Beginners
  • Colours
Gardening expertise
  • beginner
Time to reach full size
  • up to 10 years
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PLANTS Rhododendron

The name Rhododendron comes from the Greek for rose tree, although it isn't a rose it has a similar look. It's a large genus, there are more than a thousand species of rhododendron and nearly all of them have large and impressive flowers. There are various sized rhododendron species , from shrubs to large trees. The largest has been recorded at 98 feet tall! The flowers are usually quite showy, with lots of petals and there are many colours, from white to orange or red. They can be susceptible to pests, especially caterpillars. They prefer acidic well-drained soil. Rhododendrons are toxic, they can be harmful to cattle and people have even been known to become ill after eating honey made by bees collecting nectar from rhododendrons.