Rhododendrons Uncovered


A quick trip to the nursery last week led to an exciting discovery.  I usually pass right on by the rhododendron displays because we have so many of them here in the Northwest.  Hundreds and hundreds….thousands…millions…there are a lot of rhodies around here!  But these drew my attention immediately because of their striking differences.  The Makinoi rhododendron has beautiful lanceolate, almost linear, leaves.  They make a striking contrast to the soft and fluffy light pink  flowers.  The Orbiculare on the other hand has lovely round obovate leaves and purple bell-shaped flowers.  Flowers that resemble a campanula more than a rhododendron.  Both are pretty plants and would make a nice addition to a collectors garden.  Two distinctly different evergreen leaf shapes for the garden, oh the possibilities!



Just the Facts
Rhododendron makinoi      Makinoi Rhododendron
Height 5-6 ft. (1.5-2m)
Native to Japan
Zones 6-8
Part shade, organic, acidic soil
Flowers light pink, funnel shaped, late spring
Underside of leaves tomentose (densely hairy, soft and matted) and lanceolate

Just the Facts
Rhododendron Orbiculare    Round-leaved Rhododendron
Height 5-8 ft (1.5-2.5m)
Native to SW China
Zones 7-9
Part Shade, organic, acidic soil
Flowers purple campanulate, early spring
Leaves 4″ orbicular

4 thoughts on “Rhododendrons Uncovered

  1. You MUST go to the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden in Federal Way, WA.! You won’t believe the variety of rhodies. Everything from ground covers to trees, leaves the size of a grain of rice to three feet long. Leaves that are matte, glossy, fuzzy, hairy, silver, blue, bronze. There are rhodies you would never guess were rhodies if they didn’t tell you. It’s 24 acres. the largest collection of species rhododendrons in North America and second largest in the world. They have a plant sale area.

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