ARS South Australia Newsletter – August 2018

  • Date: 18th August 2018
  • author: Joy O'Keefe

RHODODENDRONS FOR ALL YEAR ROUND APPEAL

From August through to December we tend to focus on the colourful blooms rhododendrons produce. What about January to July?

By selecting plants with attributes other than just flowers, one can have rhododendrons with all year round appeal. Their leaves and buds can add interest to the summer, autumn and winter garden. Rhododendron leaves are produced in a huge range of greens, they can be glossy or dull, textured or smooth, huge or tiny, indumented, tomented, rounded or narrow and pointed. Foliage, especially the new growth on some rhododendrons can be almost as attractive as the flowers.

When thinking of excellence of foliage, R. yakusimanum and R. pachysanthum are two plants which come to mind. R. yakushimanum is a densely foliaged plant, with dark green, curled down leaves heavily indumented, fawn in colour. Silvery tomentum covers the surface of new growth. This attribute can also be seen in many of the hybrids bred from it, two NZ hybrids R. ‘High Society’, R. ‘Superman’ being examples. R. pachysanthum has showy indumentum, more tan in colour. Its tomentum is silvery tan and persists all summer. R.’Yak Pac’ is a combination of the two forming a most attractive plant.

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