While the distinctive foliage can last all season-providing texture, color and persistence in the garden—it’s impossible to deny the power of plants such as rhododendrons in full bloom. The glory of spring is announced by these garden pillars. Individual flowers can be bell-shaped or strongly reflected, borne separately or massively packed together in clusters of different shapes. I think many people are turned off for rhodies, as some striking lavender and rose selections are seen much more often than others with more atypical colors. Although these bright colors probably represent the majority of species and hybrids, there is a lot of diversity that remains underutilized.
‘Henry’s Red’ tolerates cold and has sizzling flowers
Many fine rhododendron hybrids that are well suited for colder gardens were developed by Peter J. Mezitt of Weston Nurseries in Massachusetts. Ever heard of PJM rhodies? That’s the guy! Grow it in a real “Zone 5”, mezitt used in the wild, in the eastern United States. the native rhododendron catawba (R. catawbiense, Zones 4-8) is used to get a lot of hardy hybrids, and ‘Henry’s Red ‘(R.’ Henry ‘Red’, Zones 4-8) is one of my absolute favorites. Although this cultivar does not develop a dense and compact shape, I take its slightly open and leggy shape (3 to 5 feet tall and 4 to 7 feet wide) for the beautiful red flowers it produces in after spring. Henry’s red has flowers of the deepest scarlet I’ve ever seen. The color of the flowers of this selection is so rich that it can almost get lost in the background of a shady garden unless illuminated by a fleshy sun. He does not scream through the garden, but subtly invites passers-by to take a look. A fuller habit can be achieved with selective pruning right after flowering is over and by providing good morning sun (which she prefers) to help keep her habit stockier and less slender.
Lemon Dream ” offers a unique color of flowers on a graceful image
I love little rhodies. Although imposing specimens can not be denied their praise because they bloom vigorously in after spring and their dwarf farms with eruptions of lavender flowers, such plants are not so easily incorporated into gardens. ‘Lemon Dream’ (R.’ Lemon Dream’, Zones 5-8) has many unique and interesting features that make it valuable and worthy of wider use of the landscape, especially at a size of only 2-3 meters high and wide. Flower clusters are not amazing in terms of the number of flowers, but they are excellent in shape and color. As the buds approach cracking, they radiate surprisingly varied shades of yellow, and the flowers open to a delicate buttery color. Very few evergreen rhodias of this color will remain in the gardens north of zone 7, but ‘Lemon Dream’ will be. Graceful bell-shaped flowers can sport single or double shapes, and they have a wavy fringe.
The foliage of this selection is distinguished by the fact that the leaves are very round, which provides a nice contrast in grouping with other Rhodias. It is a small compact plant, even when mature, which makes it perfect for gardens of all sizes. As it is derived from the yak line (R. degonianum subsp. yakushimanum), shows this hybrid dense foliage and a decent winter hardness.
‘Cherry Cheesecake’ has the most versatile flowers in the forest
Rhododendron ‘Cherry cheesecake’
As indicated by coevolution with pollinators, many rhododendrons have targeted spots on the upper (upper) petal in the throat of their flowers. Producers used these nectar routes, selecting those with larger and more brutal brands to develop hybrids. A bold and contrasting stain is almost a standard in many Hybrid Rhodium, and this is a beautiful property. Hybrids like the decadent ‘ Cherry Cheesecake ‘(R. ‘Cherry Cheesecake’, Zones 5-8) have amazing spots and add another layer of icing. Apart from the bold cherry red spot that softens the snow-white petals, a striking pink tingle freezes the edges of the entire flower. This frame creates a picture-in-picture effect and is extremely flashy.
It is difficult to deny that these delicious flowers are slightly less than the main dish in the spring garden. This medium hybrid (4 to 5 feet long and wide) dislike hot sites; it showed a drop in foliage when I placed it in one. I have since tried it in a different place, with a bright shade and more evenly moist soils, and I have seen a better habit, more complete with healthy leaves.
‘Cornell Pink’ Korean Rhododendron
There are not enough selections of Korean rhododendrons. The most available cultivar, ‘Cornell Pink’ (R. mucronulatum’ Cornell Pink’, Zones 4-8), is a reliable artist, but not as popular in the landscape as expected due to its excellent usefulness. It’s rustic in just about every continental state in the United States, and it turns all heads when it shows frilly flowery bouquets of surprising, bright pink in the spring sun. The first flowering of rhodie I grow, this one shines just when the flowers are presented on bare, smooth and gray stems.
‘Cornell Pink’ is not shy in autumn and takes off its leaves like a pair of high heels on Friday nights after work, settling into more soothing clothes for the off-season. Its usual open, 4 to 5 feet long and 3 to 4 feet wide can prune without not found a step, and no matter a decent amount of sunshine. Unfortunately, the Leaf is discreet and diminutive, so it doesn’t do much of a rhodie screen, but if that’s what you want, go buy a yew instead.
“Calsap” may be the king of flowering Rhodias
Rhododendron ” Calsap”
In any discussion of rhododendrons valued for their floral value, it would be impossible for me not to mention “Calsap” (R. “Calsap”, Zones 4-8). If I could just choose a rhodia to grow for an amazing flowering, it could be this plant. I first saw it at Broken Arrow Nursery in Connecticut many years ago, and fell in love immediately and completely. In after spring, the buds of pale lavender open to display almost snow-white petals, adorned with a vigorous wine stain. Not only is it gorgeous, but it’s a tough bugger-hardy woodpeckers in zone 5 (sometimes 4) and can be counted on for abundant flowering year after year. This enormous floral power-combined with the clean, bright and beautifully contrasting flowers – makes’ Calsap ‘ impossible not to yawn. This robust and powerful cultivar can grow large quickly, developing an open port 5 to 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide if left unattended. I have found that a reasonable size shortly after flowering decreases can keep this beauty more compact, and it helps prevent winter damage from heavy snow loads. I would do almost anything to see this beautiful cultivar covered in flowers in spring.