Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Rhododendron ledebourii

Currently flowering in my garden (March 21) are two clones of Rhododendron ledebourii also called R. dauricum  var. sempervirens. This plant is one of the parents of the popular PJM hybrids with Rhododendron carolinianum. The pink-violet flowering clone is unremarkable, its offspring are superior shrubs.  The other clone is white flowered, with green foliage, unlike its sister and daughters who have reddish foliage. This is a fine, vigorous and robust rhodie in my USDA zone 4 garden.

I ordered these plants a few years ago from the Rhododendron Species Foundation along with species and hybrids of what was formerly Ledum, Labrador Tea. 

Rhododendron ledebourii is native to Siberia and Mongolia. Found on rocky slopes, in clearings, along streams in forests and in subalpine zone. An evergreen lepidote, scaly small-leaved rhodie, I always covet more shrubs to propagate and hybridize. It deserves more attention in my region which is dominated by PJM and and the U of MN. azaleas.
R. ledebourii