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Species Rhododendrons Descriptions By Name
R. decorum ssp. decorum

R. decorum is a reliable "good-doer" that adds fragrance to its flowers and fills the garden with sweet scents in May or June. There's nothing decorous about R. decorum; it's not the perfect ball; it's a ballerina, throwing a branch here or there as it waltzes its way through your garden, growing into its other name, "the great white rhododendron" (at least not "the great white whale"). Yes, it will get large with time - say 20 or 30 years, but in the meantime you can enjoy it as the gem that it is.

Widespread in the wild (we often say, "Oh it's just an R. decorum. Keep driving. No need to stop."), it nevertheless should not be ignored.  Say 15 feet in 20 years with enough fragrance to knock you to your knees - who could ask for more?

decorum ssp. decorum
decorum ssp. diaprepes
degronianum heptamerum
R. decorum ssp. diaprepes

R. decorum ssp. diaprepes is just a low elevation R, decorum ssp. decorum. While the flowers may be bigger in some forms, R. decorum ssp. diaprepes  is more tender than its higher elevation cousin. Only for those who have to have one of everything or who live in the warmest of climes.

R. degronianum ssp. heptamerum var hondoense

To make matters worse, this plant has been known as R. metternichii for years!  Whatever the name, the plant is superb with soft felty new growth and stunning pink flowers.


Our plants are grown from seed we collected in Yoshino-Kamano National Park high in the mountains south of Kyoto.  It makes a compact  shrub that may reach five feet in ten years and wants a mix of sun and shade. It is hardy to -15°F - it's cold in those Japanese mountains.

degronianum yakushimanum
R. degronianum ssp. yakushimanum

R. degronianum ssp. yakushimanum is the victim of plant abuse! Because of its wonderful attributes, it has been subject to much hybridization, but few hybrids have succeeded in improving on Mother Nature. Frosty overtones on recurved leaves, thick indumentum and compact habit on the best forms make this Japanese beauty unbeatable in its natural state. “Regal” understates it.

Flowers are pure white, sometimes with a touch of pink. Coming from the slopes of Mt. Yakushima in Japan, ultimate height varies with different forms of this much grown plant.  This rhody likes the sun and tolerates light shade (but don’t cook it in strong late afternoon sun). We expect 2 -3 foot mounds in ten years from our selections. It's often known by its shortened moniker - yak.

R. dendrocharis

This rhododendron will not eat you out of house and home.  It might reach two feet tall, but then again it might not.  What it will do is reward you with fairly large (7/8 inch) flat flowers in ones and two’s in bright pink in late March.  In the meantime the much smaller glossy leaves serve as the perfect backdrop on a plant that makes a dainty well behaved little mound.  This is a recent introduction from Sichuan that is sure to become a favorite.

R. dendrocharis is a choice dwarf that is free flowering.  It grows as an epiphyte in the wild, always living in trees and not in the ground. We suggest growing it on a stump or in a basket. Think of it as an orchid. It requires excellent drainage in your garden.  It enjoys having a fair amount of sun but doesn’t want to be baked.  It should be fairly drought tolerant once it is established.

R. dichroanthum

R. dicroanthum comes in four different subspecies which are all so similar that they are not worth separating. You can determine the severity of your rhodoholic disease by your need to have one of each.

Meanwhile, whichever form you have, you will be rewarded with striking flowers in shades of orange, yellow-red or (rarely) carmine, mid-season to a bit later.  Undersides of the leaves have a compact silver to fawn indumentum.

R. dichroanthum might grow to four feet in ten years.  It likes mixed sun and shade but wants light in order to stay compact. Good drainage is a must. It is hardy to 0°F.

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