Rhododendrons / Medium to Large-Sized

Rhododendron ‘Sappho’ (unknown) – A very old hybrid that was introduced before 1867, it remains popular much in part to the huge trusses of pure white flowers (mauve in bud) with a starkly contrasting blackish-purple blotch. These are held above narrow mid-green leaves on a sprawling bush that has an ultimate height of up to 12′ tall. Zone 6 hardy.

Rhododendron ‘Blue Boy’ (‘Blue Ensign’ x ‘Purple Splendor’) – This 1981 introduction has proven to be one of the better purple rhododendrons, with its wavy-edged violet-blue flowers and darker blotch, held in ball-shaped trusses that emerge mid-May into June. The dark green foliage is sun tolerant and height after 10 years is approximately 5′ tall. Zone 6 hardy.

Rhododendron ‘President Roosevelt’ (arboreum hybrid) – A truly spectacular specimen with frilled blossoms that are red-edged, fading to pink and white towards the center. These are beautifully contrasted by inset leaf variegation of gold and light green. This 1920’s introduction has a sprawling habit and prefers partial sun (no winter sun if possible). Grows to 6′ tall and is zone 6 hardy.

Rhododendron ‘Daphinoides’ (ponticum selection or cross) – As the name implies, the foliage of this densely branched cultivar much resembles an evergreen Daphne with its rolled leaves. The abundant pale purple flower trusses are pom-pom shaped, appearing May to June. Height in ten years is approximately 4′ to 6′ tall. Zone 6 hardy.

Rhododendron ‘Van Nes Sensation’ (‘Sir Charles Butler’ x ‘White Pearl’) – A fragrant rhododendron with generous light orchid pink flowers (accented with a golden blotch) that emerge in May. These are nicely contrasted by dark green leaves. This cultivar prefers part shade and like all rhododendrons, it is deer-resistant. Height in 10 years is 5′ to 6′ tall. Zone 6 hardy.

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