Early-Blooming Compact Rhododendrons

Rhododendron ‘Shamrock’ (R. keiskei Dwarf Form x R. hanceanum ‘Nanum’) – A well-named rhododendron with small trusses of pale chartreuse to yellowish-green blooms that actually emerge around St.Patrick’s Day in mild garden regions (a little later in coastal BC). This Oregon introduction flowers March-April and grows 2′ high by 2′ wide. Zone 6.

Rhododendron ‘Lori Eichelser’ (R. forrestii spp. forrestii Repens Group x ‘Bow Bells’) – A compact dense-growing shrub with dark green foliage that looks great without flowers. It features deep cherry-pink funnel-shaped blooms in loose trusses from April to May. ‘Lori Eichelser’ tolerates part to full sun and is a good choice for mass planting. Grows 2-3′ high and wide. Zone 6.

Rhododendron ‘Pink Snowflakes’ (R. racemosum x R. moupinense) – A hard to find hybrid with white flowers heavily flushed with pastel pink, accented with reddish-purple spots in the throat (borne from March to April). The bright red flower buds are held all winter and the new growth is also bronze-red. ‘Pink Snowflakes’ grows 2′ high by 18″ wide. Zone 7.

Rhododendron ‘Moerheim’ (R. impeditum hybrid) (syn. ‘Moerheim Blue’ ) – A useful landscape specimen due to its sun tolerance and dense growth habit. This Award of Garden Merit winner bears violet-blue flowers (about 1″ wide) from March to April and the glossy green foliage often takes on a bronze tint in winter. Grows 2′ tall by 2′ wide. Zone 6.

Rhododendron ‘Mary Flemming’ ([R. racemosum x R.keiskei] x R. keiskei) – The 2005 Rhododendron of the Year features rounded trusses of creamy-yellow flowers accented with hints of salmon-pink (in April). This sun tolerant shrub is also quite cold hardy and has mid-green foliage. ‘Mary Flemming’ grows 3′ tall by 3-4′ wide. Hardy to zone 5-6.

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