All of the Mezitt Rhododendron lepidotes featured here are very cold-hardy, disease/insect resistant, and do well in both sun and shade:
Rhododendron ‘Mrs. J.A. Withington 111’
I adore R. ‘Mrs. J.A. Withington 111.’ In April/May this flamboyant blue blood is entirely draped in a glorious cloak of purple powder puffs. Quite a sensation. As a bonus, the shrub’s evergreen foliage turns bronzy-green in the Fall.
Rhododendron ‘Lilac Crest’
R. ‘Lilac Crest’ is like a lilac-pink-white mini Mrs. Withington. It is more compact and its May flowers resemble little pom-poms. The semi-evergreen shrub’s flower buds are white with lilac-pink tips; when the white flowers fully open, they are flushed with color.
Garden literature often styles R. ‘Landmark’ as a long-awaited red-flowering lepidote. In the right light and at a distance the flowers may look red. But, in truth, the showy May bloom is a rich dark pink — highly attractive to bees. In Autumn the evergreen foliage turns mahogany-bronze.
For decades the chorus of six captivating Mezitt Rhododendron lepidotes featured here and in Part 1 have flourished in my shady, organic garden and I treasure them all.
My friend the late Hank Schannen, founder of Rarefind Nursery, was also an accomplished Rhododendron hybridizer. Here is Hank’s famous take on Rhododendron plant culture:
12 Criteria For Success With Rhododendron
- Acid pH
- Dappled shade
- Able to water when needed
- If containerized, loosen roots (viciously)
- When in doubt, plant HIGH
- Hmm—More DRAINAGE
Be well. Stay safe.