Azalea Rhododendron 'Cetewayo'

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Hard-care
rhododendron 'Cetewayo'


The Rhododendron 'Cetewayo' is an evergreen shrub notable for its glossy, dark green leaves which serve as a striking backdrop for its vibrant purple flowers. These flowers bloom profusely in large, ball-shaped clusters known as trusses. Each truss comprises multiple trumpet-shaped blossoms with a wavy edge, adding a textured effect to the floral display. The buds of 'Cetewayo' are equally attractive, initially wrapped in a reddish hue before unfurling into the majestic blooms that can be seen in the growing season. The color of the flowers is an intense purple with darker spotting inside, which serves to highlight the throat of the flower where a slight hint of yellow or green may be present. The leaves themselves are elongated with a leathery texture and even margins, contributing further to the plant's lush appearance. These leaves can persist throughout the year, giving the Rhododendron 'Cetewayo' a robust presence even when it is not in bloom. Overall, the 'Cetewayo' variety of Rhododendron is a plant that exudes a regal aura through its rich coloring, full floral heads, and lustrous foliage. It brings an air of elegance to any garden setting without dominating the space with its bulk.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Cetewayo Rhododendron, African Warrior Rhododendron.

    • Common names

      Rhododendron 'Cetewayo'.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Rhododendrons, including the 'Cetewayo' variety, contain grayanotoxins which can be toxic to humans if ingested. Symptoms of rhododendron poisoning may include vomiting, diarrhea, hypersalivation, weakness, coma, hypotension, central nervous system depression, and in severe cases, cardiovascular collapse and death. It's important to avoid consuming any part of the plant.

    • To pets

      Rhododendrons are also toxic to pets. Ingesting even a few leaves can cause symptoms in dogs and cats such as drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, and central nervous system depression. More severe cases can lead to coma, cardiovascular collapse, and potentially death. It is critical to prevent pets from ingesting any part of a rhododendron plant.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      5 feet (1.5 meters)

    • Spread

      5 feet (1.5 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Aesthetic Appeal: Adds vibrant color and visual interest to gardens with its showy flowers.
    • Landscape Use: Useful in landscape design as a focal point or for mass planting.
    • Pollinator Attraction: Attracts bees, butterflies, and other pollinators, supporting biodiversity.
    • Shade Tolerance: Can grow in partially shaded environments where other plants might struggle.
    • Seasonal Interest: Provides spring or early summer blossoms, depending on the variety.
    • Versatility: Comes in various sizes and colors, suitable for different garden themes and styles.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Rhododendrons like 'Cetewayo' can be used in floral art and arrangements due to their attractive flowers and lush foliage, making them a popular choice for weddings and special events.

    • The fibrous branches and roots of rhododendron plants can be woven into small handicrafts or baskets, exploiting their durability and pliability.

    • Rhododendron foliage can serve as a natural mulch, as the leaves decompose slowly and can help reduce weeds and conserve soil moisture.

    • The wood of some rhododendron species, although not specifically 'Cetewayo', can be used for making small wooden tools, handles, and other crafted items due to its density and fine grain.

    • Dried and pressed rhododendron flowers can be incorporated into paper making, creating decorative and textured hand-made papers.

    • Rhododendron blossoms are sometimes used in the production of natural dyes for fabrics, yielding subtle color variations depending on the species.

    • Rhododendron sap has been used in traditional practices for waterproofing and as an adhesive in some cultures, although it is not a mainstream application.

    • The large leaves of rhododendrons can be used to create temporary shelters or coverings in wilderness survival scenarios.

    • In perfumery, the scent of certain rhododendron species may be used as inspiration or a component in fragrance blends, contributing a fresh and floral note.

    • Insect-repelling properties have been attributed to some rhododendron species, leading to their cuttings being used as a natural bug deterrent.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Rhododendron is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Beware: Rhododendrons can contain toxic substances, which historically led to them being used to symbolize caution or danger.
    • Warning: Similarly related to their toxicity, they serve as a symbol of warning to be heeded.
    • Elegance and Wealth: The Rhododendron 'Cetewayo', with its showy flowers and association with well-kept gardens, can symbolize sophistication and prosperity.
    • Survival: Rhododendrons are known for their hardiness and ability to thrive in various conditions, making them a symbol of endurance and survival.
    • Temporal Beauty: As with many flowers, Rhododendrons bloom beautifully but briefly, reminding one of the transient nature of beauty and life itself.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring-Early Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Azaleas require consistent moisture, but they are prone to root rot in soggy soil, so it's crucial to water them properly. Water the Rhododendron 'Cetewayo' deeply to saturate the root zone when the top inch of soil feels dry, rather than following a fixed schedule. Typically, this may mean watering once a week during the growing season, but the frequency can vary based on weather conditions. In hot, dry periods, more frequent watering may be necessary. Use about one gallon of water per watering for each foot of plant height, ensuring an even distribution without waterlogging the soil.

  • sunLight

    Azaleas thrive in conditions where they receive dappled sunlight or partial shade. The Rhododendron 'Cetewayo' should be planted in a location that offers bright, filtered light, avoiding the intense afternoon sun which can scorch the leaves. An ideal spot would be under the canopy of taller trees or on the north side of a building, where it gets ample light without direct sun.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Azaleas are relatively hardy but have an optimal temperature range. The Rhododendron 'Cetewayo' prefers a temperature range between 40°F and 85°F. It can withstand minimum temperatures down to about 0°F but may suffer damage if exposed to extremes for prolonged periods. The ideal temperature conditions for this azalea would generally remain between 50°F and 75°F.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning maintains the shape and health of the Rhododendron 'Cetewayo'. Azaleas should be pruned immediately after they finish blooming in the spring to ensure that next year's bud set is not affected. Remove dead or damaged branches, and shape the plant as desired. Pruning at this time allows the plant to recover and grow throughout the summer. Do not prune azaleas in late summer or fall, as this can cut off developing flower buds.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Azaleas, including the Rhododendron 'Cetewayo', thrive in well-draining, acidic soil with a pH between 4.5 and 6.0. A good soil mix consists of equal parts peat moss, pine bark, and perlite or coarse sand to ensure proper drainage and aeration. Regular soil testing and amendment with sulfur or iron sulfate can help maintain the desired pH level.

  • plantRepotting

    Azaleas like Rhododendron 'Cetewayo' typically require repotting every 2 to 3 years, or when rootbound. When repotting, it is crucial to use a suitable soil mixture that will support the plant's growth without compromising drainage and aeration. Do it in early spring before new growth begins.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Azaleas thrive best in environments with high humidity, typically around 50-60%, but they can tolerate lower levels. To maintain optimal humidity for Rhododendron 'Cetewayo', use a pebble tray with water or a room humidifier, especially during dry winter months when indoor air can become quite arid.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Keep in bright, indirect light; ensure high humidity.

    • Outdoor

      Place in dappled shade, protect from harsh sun.

    • Hardiness zone

      5-8 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The life of Rhododendron 'Cetewayo', commonly known as Rhododendron, begins with seed germination, requiring a moist and well-drained medium with some warmth to stimulate growth. Following germination, the seedling stage involves initial root and shoot development, where it slowly grows into a small bush, preferring partially shaded environments. As it matures into the vegetative stage, the Rhododendron 'Cetewayo' develops a more substantial root system and foliage, eventually leading to the budding stage. The plant produces buds that bloom into vibrant flowers, usually in spring, attracting pollinators that assist in the reproductive stage. After pollination, the flowers develop into seed pods that, when mature, release seeds, thus completing the reproductive cycle. The Rhododendron 'Cetewayo' can also propagate vegetatively through cuttings, allowing for a clonal expansion of the plant.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • The most popular method of propagating Rhododendron 'Cetewayo', commonly referred to as Rhododendron, is through semi-hardwood cuttings. This typically takes place during the late summer, when the new growth has begun to mature and harden. To propagate, one selects healthy, non-flowering shoots of the current year’s growth and cuts a piece about 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 centimeters) long. The cut end is then dipped in rooting hormone to facilitate root development and inserted into a well-draining rooting medium. The cutting should be kept under high humidity and indirect light until roots have developed, which can take several weeks. After rooting, the new Rhododendron plants can be gradually acclimated to ambient conditions before being transplanted to their final location.