Rhododendrons

Calssic Rhododendron flower.

One of the all time favourite plants that gardeners enjoy the world over is the Rhododendron. When you’ve seen one in full flower it’s not too hard to understand why. At a time of year when most other plants look drab and dreary, rhododendrons are bursting into spectacular colour, with giant bunches of beautiful flowers in pinks, reds, purples whites and yellows. Rhododendrons have been crossbred over many years to produce the hundreds of different varieties available today, including many cultivars that are heat tolerant.

Rhododendrons have a compact root ball of very fine hair-like roots that makes them ideal for use in containers or around buildings. They look superb in an open garden setting as specimen plants, and when used in a woodland planting. Because of their fine feeding roots, they require plenty of moisture in a well-drained, open soil that has been enriched with lots of organic material, like well-rotted compost. Heavily compacted soil must be broken up well before planting, and the addition of mulch around the base of the plant will help to retain moisture. Most varieties prefer dappled shade although some Rhododendrons, such as ‘Sir Robert Peel’ will perform wonderfully in full sun. We can order in a large selection of Rhododendrons in a wide range of flower colours to suit every garden situation.

Using Rhododendrons in the Garden

There are a number of different ways in which Rhododendrons can be used in the garden, with the most popular of course being as a specimen plant. Choosing a variety is as simple as deciding what colour you want, how high you want the plant to grow, and how much light is available, bearing in mind that although many varieties like dappled shade, fully shaded areas will reduce flower quantities. If the area is in full sun, make sure you select a heat tolerant species, and mulch the ground around the plant to retain moisture. By choosing a mixture of colours and flowering times, you can maintain interest in the garden over a long period of time.

Popular varieties to use as specimen plants include ‘Fire Prince’, a cultivar produced by local Rhododendron guru Karel Van de Van, which has brilliant red tubular flowers, ‘President Roosevelt’, with its unusual golden-variegated leaves and bright red and white blooms, and of course ‘Sir Robert Peel’, an early flowering variety that produces outstanding displays of deep pink flowers and is extremely hardy.

Because they enjoy the same conditions as azaleas and camellias, and flower at similar times, Rhododendrons can also be used as a massed display, and in larger gardens can be interspersed among trees to create a natural ‘woodland’ setting. Smaller varieties of Rhododendron are great to plant in tubs to colour up a patio or decking area. Varieties such as the dark purple flowered ‘Purple Splendour’ or the dainty yellow ‘Eldorado’ are good choices.

Blue Crown
Dark pink Ross Maude
Freckles Pink
Eldorado
Ross Maude
Purple
Yellow
President Roosevelt
Yellow Vireya
Apricot Vireya
Pink
Red
White
Maria’s Choice!!!

 NEW RELEASE:

Karel Van de Ven’s
“MARIA’S CHOICE”

Maria’s Choice is a medium sized, medium to late flowering variety with yellow to cream blooms, and is a very prolific flowerer, even on young bushes.

It has attractive flower-buds, and an upright, bushy habit and prefers a partly shaded position.

The Karel Van De Ven collection

Whilst most Rhododendrons are stunning, there aren’t enough words in the English language to describe the beauty of the varieties bred by local grower Karel Van de Ven. Karel has been producing Rhododendron hybrids for more than twenty years from his home in the Dandenongs, as well as the spectacular grafted standard azaleas that you may have seen. In that time he has developed some truly beautiful rhododendrons, which flower prolifically and are the ideal choice if you really want a plant that’s unique. Although they are a few dollars more than normal rhododendrons, a Karel Van de Ven rhodo is certainly worth every cent. His collection contains plants in all colours, most of them flowering a little later than other varieties, with the majority being of medium size with vigorous, upright growth.

These varieties are available on an order-in basis. Please note that as these varieties are not always available, plants may take 1-2 weeks to acquire.

The Karel Van De Ven Collection

Available Pot Sizes

Variety

Description

Height

Flowering Season

6″

8″

10″

Apricot Gold
Medium, gold trusses Medium – Tall Mid – Late
No
Yes
No
Australian Cameo
Apricot Pink Medium Mid – Late
Yes
Yes
No
Australian Celebration
Pale yellow to cream Medium Mid – Late
Yes
Yes
No
Australian Rainbow
Florets rich pink fading to white throat Medium Mid – Late
No
Yes
No
Australian Sunset
Orange frill with yellow centre Medium Mid – Late
Yes
Yes
No
Bloodline
Red tubular flowers Medium Early – Mid
Only available in 7″ pot.
Blue Crown
Blue purple with black blotch Medium Mid – Late
Yes
Yes
No
Caramel Coffee
Yellow to light orange, speckled throat Medium – Tall Mid – Late
Yes
Yes
Yes
Cormid
Light mauve, green centre Medium – Tall Mid – Late
No
Yes
No
Crinkles
Reddish with a purple blotch Medium Mid season
Yes
Yes
No
Cup Day
Tyrian rose, heavily spotted crimson Medium – Tall Late
Yes
Yes
No
Empire Silver
Light pink Medium Late
Yes
No
No
Fire Prince
Blood red Medium Early
No
No
Yes
Fire Walk
Turkey red Medium Mid season
Yes
Yes
No
Forest Flame
Currant red, medium trusses Medium Mid season
Yes
Yes
No
Lighthouse
Tall, compact trusses of brilliant red Medium Early – Mid
Yes
Yes
No
Maria’s Choice
Pale yellow to cream Medium Mid – Late
Yes
Yes
Yes
Midnight
Big trusses of purple, magenta throat Medium – Tall Late
Yes
Yes
Yes
Nightwatch
Deep mauve with darker center Medium Late
Yes
Yes
Yes
Purple Gown
Purple-red, deep purplish red blotch Small – Medium Mid season
No
Yes
No
Sir Robert Menzies
Bright red medium trusses Medium Early
Yes
Yes
Yes
Snow Peak
Large white, red eye Medium Mid season
No
Yes
No
Thrills
White, red margin Medium Late
Only available in 7″ pot.
Wedding Gown
Loose trusses of white, yellow centre Medium Mid season
Yes
Yes
No
White Flare
Hardy grower, white with green throat Small Mid season
Yes
Yes
No
Yak. X Eriogynum
Pink Medium Mid season
Only available in 7″ pot.