Common Name: rhododendron
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 5.00 to 6.00 feet
Spread: 5.00 to 6.00 feet
Bloom Time: March to April
Bloom Description: Lavender - pink
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Suggested Use: Hedge
Other: Winter Interest
Best grown in acidic, humusy, organically rich, moisture-retentive but well-drained soils in part shade. Prefers a sun dappled shade. Foliage may scorch in full sun. Acidify soils prior to planting and thereafter as needed. Plant in a location protected from strong winter winds. Good soil drainage is essential (doesn’t like “wet feet”). Poor drainage inevitably leads to root rot, therefore raised beds/plantings should be considered in heavy clay soils such as those present in much of the St. Louis area. Shallow, fibrous root systems (do not cultivate around plants) will benefit greatly from a mulch (e.g., wood chips, bark or pine needles) to help retain moisture and stabilize soil temperatures. Roots must never be allowed to dry out. Clip off spent flower clusters immediately after bloom as practicable.
Rhododendron (PJM Group) is a series of rhododendron hybrids resulting from crosses between Rhododendron carolinianum and Rhododendron dauricum var. sempervirens. These hybrids are vigorous, compact, rounded, small-leaved, broadleaf evergreen shrubs that are noted for having exceptional winter hardiness. The original hybridization work was started in the late 1930s to early 1940s by Massachusetts nurserymen Edmund Mezitt and this father, Peter J. Mezitt, whose initials are used for group and some cultivar names. ‘P.J.M. Elite’ was introduced around 1987. It typically grows to 5-6’ tall and as wide and features clusters of lavender-pink blooms in early April. Elliptic glossy dark green leaves (to 2.5” long) turn reddish purple in autumn.
Rhododendrons are susceptible to many insect and disease problems, including but not limited to canker, crown rot, root rot, leaf spot, rust, powdery mildew, aphids, borers, lacebugs, leafhoppers, mealybugs, mites, nematodes, scale, thrips and whitefly. A healthy plant in the proper environment with proper care should have limited problems, however.
Mass, group or specimen. Shrub borders, mixed borders, woodland gardens and shade gardens. Informal hedge. Also effective in foundation plantings and as a specimen around the home.