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Rhododendron Rhododendron (PJM Group)

Other Common Name(s):

Other plants called Rhododendron:

Phonetic Spelling
roh-do-DEN-dron
This plant has high severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

PJM rhododendrons are a group of hybrid, broadleaf evergreen shrubs in the Ericaceae (blueberry) family that were developed by Peter J. Mezitt and his son in the 1930s to be exceptionally winter hardy. The genus name derives from the Greek words rhodo, which means rose, and dendron, meaning tree.

Growing 3 to 6 feet tall and wide, these rhododendrons prefer partial shade and protection from strong winds. They grow well in moist, acidic soils but do not like wet feet. If you have clay soil, amend it with organic material and plant the root ball high in the soil to help with drainage issues. Avoid overwatering and over-fertilizing. Pruning, if desired, may be done after flowering.  This plant is resistant to browsing by rabbits.

As with all members of the genus, PJM rhododendrons are perfect as mass plantings in woodland or natural areas and specimens in pollinator gardens. Their green foliage acquires purple tones in winter, making them a wonderful addition to a winter garden. They also make a great informal hedge plant.  

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Insect problems include aphids, borers, lace bugs, leafhoppers, mealybugs, mites, nematodes, scale, thrips, and whitefly. Diseases include canker, crown rot, root rot, leaf spot, rust, and powdery mildew. Full sun can scorch the leaves, and the roots rot if soil does not drain well. 

While rhododendrons remain very popular for landscape use, many cultivars are susceptible to Phytophthora root rot–this leads to leaf loss, reduced vigor, branch dieback, and wilting. Implement good cultural practices first, such as improving drainage with organic matter or berms and avoiding overwatering or overfertilization. For suitable alternatives, see this video created by Charlotte Glen as part of the Plants, Pests, and Pathogens series.

VIDEO Created by Elizabeth Meyer for "Trees, Shrubs and Conifers" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.

More information on Rhododendron.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Four-Season Garden
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Aglo' - pink
  • 'Landmark' - near red
  • 'Olga' - pink
  • 'Pink Diamond'
  • 'PJM'
  • 'PJM Compact'
  • 'PJM Elite'
  • 'PJM Elite Star'
  • 'PJM Regal'
'Aglo' - pink, 'Landmark' - near red, 'Olga' - pink, 'Pink Diamond', 'PJM', 'PJM Compact', 'PJM Elite', 'PJM Elite Star', 'PJM Regal'
Tags:
#evergreen#hardy#poisonous#wildlife plant#purple leaves#native bees#shade garden#winter interest#rabbit resistant#mass planting#dappled shade#hedges#specialized bees#leathery leaves#winter hardy#understory shrub#winter garden#problem for cats#problem for dogs#bee friendly#problem for horses#Buncombe County Sun and Shade Garden#wet soils intolerant#flowers mid-spring
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Aglo' - pink
  • 'Landmark' - near red
  • 'Olga' - pink
  • 'Pink Diamond'
  • 'PJM'
  • 'PJM Compact'
  • 'PJM Elite'
  • 'PJM Elite Star'
  • 'PJM Regal'
'Aglo' - pink, 'Landmark' - near red, 'Olga' - pink, 'Pink Diamond', 'PJM', 'PJM Compact', 'PJM Elite', 'PJM Elite Star', 'PJM Regal'
Tags:
#evergreen#hardy#poisonous#wildlife plant#purple leaves#native bees#shade garden#winter interest#rabbit resistant#mass planting#dappled shade#hedges#specialized bees#leathery leaves#winter hardy#understory shrub#winter garden#problem for cats#problem for dogs#bee friendly#problem for horses#Buncombe County Sun and Shade Garden#wet soils intolerant#flowers mid-spring
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Rhododendron
    Family:
    Ericaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Wildlife Value:
    Tolerates damage by rabbits. Members of the genus Rhododendron support the following specialized bee: Andrena (Andrena) cornelli.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 7 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Poisonous
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Funnel
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Description:
    Showy clusters of lavender, pink or rose flowers
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Leathery
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Purple/Lavender
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Elliptic, hairless, leathery, dark green leaves (to 2.5” long); foliage acquires purple tones in winter.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Pollinator Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Hedge
    Mass Planting
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Specialized Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Rabbits
    Problems:
    Poisonous to Humans
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    High
    Poison Symptoms:
    Salivation, watering of eyes and nose, abdominal pain, loss of energy, depression, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, difficult breathing, progressive paralysis of arms and legs, cardiac failure, coma.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Andromedotoxin, Grayantoxin
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Sap/Juice
    Seeds
    Stems