Small Leafed Rhododendrons-Big Early Color
One group of plants that does better in harsh winters is the small leafed rhododendron. These are sometimes also known as the early rhododendron as they bloom before the larger leafed and perhaps better known varieties. Over the next few weeks you may notice some brilliant pinks, lavender and even yellow in your neighbors yard.
These plants like to grow in acidic soil, part sun, and do not like to dry out. One of the most popular is the PJM which blooms a great shade of lavender-pink. This is arguably the most planted rhododendron in the east and was developed locally at Weston Nurseries.
Another super early bloomer is rhododendron Olga Mezitt.. This variety is such a superior performer it was recently given the Cary Award. (www.caryaward.org
) This award is given to those plants that perform particularly well in the New England climate.
How about Midnight Ruby with her red-purple flowers? This early bloomer is actually a cross between Olga Mezitt and the PJM. Milestone is another wonderful pink that will appear red from far away.
If you like white, April Snow is your choice. Just as May opens these flowers will shine bright.
One last variety to consider is towhead. This is a bit unusual because it blooms yellow. I found one of these earlier this week and planted it immediately in an area I lost a plant to this crazy winter we just went through. This plant needs to be protected in the winter and will do best in Zone 6 or higher
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