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Something's happening in the rhododendron garden. The times when the bush was considered green and boring - apart from the attractive, but often short spring bloom - are fortunately over. For some years, wild species and varieties have come onto the market, which score points with their foliage and growth habit. Modern breeds, whose conspicuously colored and frosted new shoots usually last much longer than their flowers, are now often used by garden planners for their designs. For example, varieties with silvery-white leaf felt such as 'golfer' or 'silver velor' are more and more frequently found in contemporary bedding plants. The same applies to 'Queen Bee' and 'Rusty Dane' with beige or cinnamon-colored leaf decoration.
The red, candle-like new shoot of the variety 'Grünspan' (Rhododendron rex) attracts attention due to its blossoming background. In between, 'Masai Mara' (Rhododendron bureavii) shines with young, white-felted leaves
In contrast to the listed varieties, most Yakushimanum hybrids show a much richer blooms along with their velvety, white-felted leaves. Plant users love the compact, spherical growth of this Rhodo group, garden owners love the many different flower colors as well as the hardiness and adaptability to the site. Not only are the breeds much smaller than the large-flowered classics, they are also wind- and sun-tolerant, because the wild species comes from the Japanese highlands. Readings such as the pink-white 'Koichiro Wada', the pink 'Fantastica' and 'Goldprinz' in golden yellow have long been part of the standard range. Except in small gardens, the varieties are increasingly used for modern vessels on the balcony or terrace.
These varieties adorn themselves after flowering with attractive leaves
Start photo gallery
Rhododendron varieties with leaf decoration
'Golfer' (R. pseudochrysanthum) flowers light pink and shows silvery frosted leaves afterwards
'Bunter Favorit' (Large-flowered hybrids) lets red-orange flowers follow orange-red leaves
'Best Late' (R. yakushimanum) has dark pink buds, white flowers and an ocher-colored, wool-felted shoot
'Burletta' (R. neriiflorum) shines with red flowers and red-violet undersides
Rhododendron williamsianum and its varieties start again with bronze-red shoots
The right location
It should be noted, however, that rhododendrons prefer a climate with high relative humidity and consistent rainfall. In sunny, rather dry regions you should therefore plant the flowering shrubs in sheltered, light-shaded areas. If the soil conditions are not optimal, it is better to choose so-called Inkarho varieties, which develop well even at higher pH values, such as on weakly alkaline loamy soils. These include even varieties with a delicate fragrance.
This is even more intense with fragrance azaleas (Rhododendron viscosum) such as the pink-yellow 'Juniduft' and the white 'Sommerduft'. In the winter they lose their leaves as well as the well-known Knap Hill azaleas (R. luteum), which compensate for it with brilliant flower variety and great autumn color. If the summer-green Rhodes first appear too colorful and later too bare, they can combine with the deciduous evergreen relatives and is thus exactly on trend.