The history of the introduction of the Rhododendron family to the western world reads somewhat like the script of an Indiana Jones movie. Devoted horticultural pioneers of the 19th century risked life and limb in the remote mountainous regions of China to seek out desirable species. The British Empire had an endless apetite for Rhododendrons which had to be satisfied! This was no simple Chinese Takeaway. Marauding tribesmen and man-hunting dogs along with pests and diseases were a very real and dangerous threat. We can be grateful that through them we now know of aproximately 900 species of Rhododendron which have been inter-bred to create more than 10,000 hybrids. There is really no excuse for not finding a Rhododendron that apeals.
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Rhododendrons do need consideration as to planting position. They prefer rich deep soil that has an acid ph. Basically this excludes heavy clay or chalky soils. Soil condition can be improved with the addition of peat or bark mulch. Avoid lime. Rhododendrons prefer a little dapled light in the afternoon but can be surprisingly tolerant of sun as long as their roots are kept cool with a nice layer of mulch or compost. The root system is fibrous which means lots of little roots all massed together and near the surface. The good thing about fibrous root systems is it means the plants are easy to move should you wish to give them a ride in your wheelbarrow - something I do far too much of! What else do you need to know? Unfortunately here in New Zealand Rhododendrons are susceptible to damage from a nasty little insect called Thrip. This eats through the top green layer of the leaf leaving it with a silver apearance, when it's done it then goes and hides beneath the leaf. Thrips can easily be controlled by spraying regularly with a systemic chemical insecticide which penetrates through the plant, poisoning the insect when it attacks the foliage. If you prefer a more gentle method of destruction then use an organic surfactant spray i.e. it doesn't penetrate the plant tissue, but you will have to make sure that you spray underneath the leaf as well as on the top. Some Rhododendrons can start flowering from winter onwards in warmer areas of N.Z. but the main flowering period is considered to be spring. In full flower they add a dramatic beauty to the garden and are particularly superb under tall deciduous trees. If you really want to see Rhododendrons at their best I highly recommend a trip to the New Plymouth Rhododendron festival in October/November of each year. You can then get an idea of the type of Rhododendron that suits you and your garden and here at Wairere we'll do our best to match your desires. All plants called Rhododendrons in New Zealand are evergreen and fully hardy to cold. Azaleas are also classified as Rhododendrons and some of these are deciduous - for further information see our separate category.
Vireya. A tropical shrub with luxuriant green foliage that has bronze tones on the new leaves. Large full trusses of vibrant orange-red flowers appear regularly throughout the year. Plant in a sunny well drained spot with protection from frost. Evergreen.
Vireyas make excellent container plants but are equally happy in a sheltered spot in the garden. As they flower on and off all year round they like regular feeding. A slow-release fertilizer is best. They must have good drainage and as with all Rhododendrons they like a nice layer of mulch around the top of the root ball to keep the roots cool.
Colour: Orange / Red Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 100cm x 100cm
Gorgeous trusses of double flowers are dark orange in colour and edged in red.
Nice glossy dark green foliage. Plant in morning sun or dappled light in well drained acid soil. Protect from frost and feed regularly for best results. Suitable for container growing. Evergreen.
Colour: Orange Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.3m x 1m
Gorgeous large blooms of soft peachy-apricot appear on and off all year round. Nice glossy green foliage. Plant in morning sun or dappled light in well drained acid soil. Protect from frost and feed regularly for best results. Suitable for container growing. Evergreen.
Colour: Pink / Apricot Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 2m x 2m
Add some 'Kisses' to your garden or a container and you will be rewarded with lovely peachy-pink blooms with a hint of yellow at the throat. Flowers on and off all year round. Plant in morning sun or dappled light in well drained acid soil. Protect from frost and feed regularly. Evergreen.
Colour: Pink / Yellow Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.2m x 1m
Beautiful trusses of bright orange double flowers. Glossy dark green foliage. Plant in morning sun or dappled light in well drained acid soil. Protect from frost and feed regularly for best results. Suitable for container growing.
Colour: Orange Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1m x 1m
In spring, compact trusses of pink flowers open from deep apricot buds. The flowers mature to salmon-yellow with a crimson blotch. Long pointed evergreen foliage. Good strong healthy growth and a compact habit. Happiest in semi-shade with acid soil.
Colour: Pink / Yellow Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.5m x 1m
Handsome dark green foliage, a broad rounded habit and ravishing red blooms in spring. The flowers present themselves in large domed trusses. Sensational.
Will tolerate some sun but best in dappled light with acid soil. Evergreen.
Colour: Red Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.8m x 1.5m
An absolutely stunning Rhododendron with large, long green leaves topped off with huge trusses of satin pink flowers with a white under-tone. Magnificent in full bloom. Plant in a semi-shaded position in acid soil, mulch regularly to keep the roots cool. Evergreen.
As a point of interest there are many in the Rhododendron world consider this to be the same as 'Lems Monarch' - whatever the name it is still a beautiful and stunning Rhododendron.
Colour: Pink / White Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.8m x 2m
Rhododendron Walloper Pink
Current Stock Height: 30/40cm ?
Container: pb8 ?
New stock arriving beginning of April, 2020. Pre-order now. Estimated price $34.99 each. Payment when stock arrives.
Rich pink buds appear in spring and open to beautiful large trusses of blush white blooms that have a hint of green in the centre. Handsome glossy green foliage and a vigorous upright habit. Plant in semi-shade in acid soil for best results. Evergreen.
Colour: White / Pink Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 3m x 2m