R. nipponicum

R. nipponicum is a rare Japanese deciduous azalea from the island of Honshu, Japan. It will have small white bell-shaped flowers in early summer that will hang gracefully amidst the lush, soft foliage.

The new foliage emerges in spring as tender straps of delicate green. In the fall, the foliage will turn a brilliant red or yellow. The trunk will develop a smooth peeling deep brown bark. Truly unusual.

R. nipponicum may reach three to six feet in ten years.

R. nipponicum will appreciate: Small amounts of fertilizer on Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, gentle watering, some shade – the luxurious foliage will burn if the sun exposure is too strong. It also needs good drainage with well-aerated soil.

The deciduous Japanese azaleas are relatively unknown in the US, but they are an outstanding group of plants. Perhaps the best known is schlippenbachii, but albrechtii, sanctum and quinquefolium are all superb plants. There are more, and each offers something unique for your garden.