Rhododendron • シャクナゲ • 石楠花 • shakunage
Edited on 3/31/17: this showy rhododendron was heavily cut down last winter, only a 2′ off-shoot was left – it was deemed too distractive in color and size for the Japanese style garden; check for new pictures below when in gets in bloom in May 2017.
One of those we only know it’s a hybrid; we don’t know many of our large showy rhodies names (although the Plant Committee is in the process of discovering some), and so is the case of this quite spectacular specimen, which our Plant List location description gives as ‘grows out over pond’. It has large pink flowers and blooms quite profusely; is listed as 4′ tall, but that is only because we didn’t update the height for a few years – it’s about 6-7′ feet now. It is best viewed from across the pond, while strolling on the W path.
Since we do not have specific name for this rhododendron here is a general information on hybrids from Steve Henning’s Rhododendron & Azalea Pages (check his very extensive writings on rhodies):
[…] The hybrid rhododendrons are immensely varied in color, size, shape and winter hardiness as a result of their complex genetic background. Generally they are classified as large-leaved, with foliage 3 inches or more in length, and small-leaved, with foliage under 3 inches. The varieties with larger leaves usually have larger flowers, 5 inches or more across, composed of blossoms 2 inches or more in diameter. The individual blossoms of small-leaved types vary from tiny flowers to ones 1 1/2 to 2 inches across, borne in clusters up to 4 inches across.
The cold resistance of a hybrid rhododendron is indicated by a code that indicates the lowest temperature the flower buds can tolerate during the winter and still open perfectly in the spring. Plants bearing the code designation H-1 survive to -25°F, H-2 to -15°F, H-3 to -5°F, H-4 to 5°F, H-5 to 15°F, H-6 to 25°F and H-7 to 32°F. Most varieties grown in the USA range between H-1 and H-4 in hardiness.
The Royal Horticultural Society is the official rhododendron registrar. As of the end of December, 2002, the number of registered rhododendron hybrids was:
14,298 hardy rhododendron hybrids suitable for temperate regions
12,989 azalea hybrids including both evergreen and deciduous azaleas
108 azaleodendron hybrids which are crosses between azaleas and other rhododendrons
680 vireya hybrids which are tropical members of the rhododendron family
Of these, several hundred are readily available in the nursery trade and perhaps another hundred are in the greenhouse azalea trade. The most popular plants vary by locale. Deciduous azaleas are popular in both hot and cold climates. Evergreen azaleas are more popular in warm climates and rhododendrons do well in cooler climates. Vireyas only do well in tropical climates or in greenhouses. […]