Extension Master Gardener Blog
People. Plants. Partnerships
Mary Jean, I can see where this Rhododendron gets it’s name. Can you tell us more about it? When does it flower? I see it’s hardy between zones 7-9. Is this what you’ve experienced too?
This is the earliest I’ve had the Christmas Cheer bloom. Believe me it was nice to see it so early on these short days. Usually it waits until late January or February.
The American Rhododendron Society website describes it as a very early to early bloomer. Matures to 4 feet and is hardy to -10 degrees F.
I called a rhododendron nursery to find out about growing it in places other than the Pacific Northwest. She said it grows best in the PNW from southern BC to northern CA. It doesn’t do well on eastern side of these areas, wouldn’t be good in the Midwest and marginal on the East Coast since it doesn’t like high humidity or extreme temperatures because it is subject to root rot and bark split.
She said an avid gardener who wanted to experiment could plant it in well drained soil and monitor & adjust conditions for root rot, bark split, and proper pH, could try to grow it. Doesn’t sound very encouraging, does it? A better idea is to check with local Master Gardeners and reputable local nurseries to see what early bloomers grow in your local area.
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