Lemon Dream RhododendronRhododendron Exbury hybrid ‘Lemon Dream’
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Rhododendron Exbury hybrid ‘Lemon Dream’
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
New gardeners often rush to buy plans in strong colors, looking for the additional pop of color that red or pink can add to their outdoor living space. It would be a mistake to overlook the Lemon Dream Rhododendron with its more gentle and relaxing shade of yellow. Just as appealing to the eye, a lighter color not only brings brightness to the shade, but it makes the stronger colors of your other plants even more striking.
The soft yellows of the dense flower trusses contrast strongly against the plant’s rounded, evergreen deep green leaves densely clustered on a small shrub that may eventually exceed two feet, but which stays short and makes an ideal plant for small spaces, planter boxes and pots too. This dwarf variety is perfect for smaller gardens with space restrictions or for larger landscapes when you need smaller plants for massing in the foreground of your larger shrubs.
Flowering shrubs like the yellow rhododendron have a very important place in the natural environment. They provide a fun and enticing place for many varieties of smaller animals to play and live, which can also bring additional enjoyment to your outdoor living space. However, adding the low-growing Lemon Dream as a design element enables you to create a pleasing transition from your taller background plants, over the rhododendrons and down to the lower ground growing plants as well as your well-manicured lawn. The Lemon Dream’s prolific yellow flowers and rich, dense foliage combine with the woody branches to provide a sense of visual fullness that remains interesting in the winter months when other plants might not be so eye-catching.
The Lemon Dream was first cultivated in Olympia, Washington in 1983 by S. McCulloch. To obtain this beautiful and unique rhododendron, the stunning Hotei and Lem’s Cameo cultivars were crossed. By combining both of these varieties, the Lemon Dream is able to exhibit some of the most beautiful aspects of its plant parents. Tight clusters of gentle yellow flowers in a funnel shape, with frilly ruffled edges, rest against long oval dark green leaves. While the plant only begins to flower in mid-May, it is an evergreen shrub that will continue to bring contrast and appeal throughout the colder winter months.
This yellow rhododendron is also a dwarf variety, meaning it doesn’t grow to great heights or widths like some other closely related species. Lemon Dream is small and compact; when fully mature it reaches roughly three feet in height and only three to four feet in width. This compact size makes it an ideal candidate for those middle height plants needed to create a uniform and pleasing transition from ground level growth up to your taller vertical greenery.
Even though this shrub was cultivated in a lab in Washington, the Lemon Dream is suitable for states in USDA plant hardiness zones 5 to 8. While it can tolerate up to -20 degrees Fahrenheit during the coldest winter months in the northern mid-western states like Illinois, the Lemon Dream prefers the slightly warmer and humid climates found in states further south; Missouri, Tennessee and Virginia are just a few of the southern states the shrub can fare particularly well in. Even though this shrub can tolerate short periods of time without rainfall, you will want to ensure that it receives an adequate supply of water if you experience any extended periods of drought.
In order to help the Lemon Dream Rhododendron flourish you will want to make sure it is planted in well-drained, organically rich soil. It will also tolerate sandy soil conditions quite well as long as it is kept moist. This shrub variety is quite happy to be planted in locations that are only partially shaded throughout the day; however it is just as able to thrive in areas that are fully shaded. This makes planning your garden landscape much easier, especially considering that the Lemon Dream is a mid-sized to smaller plant which may regularly be in the shadows of larger surrounding plants.
Caring for the yellow rhododendron is also relatively simple. Once it is planted in your chosen location you can use decorative mulch or pebbles to cover the ground around it. Using mulch will help maintain moisture levels of the soil as well as prevent unwanted weeds from bedding in with your beautiful new plant. Simply removing faded or dying flowers from their tight clusters can provide a cleaner and healthier look. Also, new growth can be pinched to help the shrub retain a more bushy appearance. Overall this is a relatively maintenance-free shrub that won’t require a lot of attention over the course of its lifetime. Because it is extremely adaptable to its location and is such a hardy variety, even a beginning gardener can achieve remarkable results with this shrub.
The Lemon Dream Rhododendron is an exceptional specimen for addition into any small garden thanks to its compact size. Even if your project involves much larger commercial landscaping, this shrub can have its place too; you can transform harsh urban environments to resemble quaint country gardens by simply adding this dainty shrub to compliment a wide range of larger and smaller neighboring plants. The exceptional blooming power of Lemon Dream, as well as the beautiful dark leaves, adds a touch of softness and gentle color against the “concrete jungle” appearance of city landscapes.
The Lemon Dream is also an excellent choice when planted in large groups, to create the illusion of a single massive plant, or as borders along walkways or building foundations. However you decide to use this special yellow rhododendron in your landscaping design, we are positive that you will not be disappointed with its many versatile uses. You and everyone else that visits your property will thoroughly enjoy this shrub for many years to come. You may also want to consider planting other popular varieties, like the Lemon Ice Rhododendron and the Everred Rhododendron.