Nova Zembla RhododendronRhododendron 'Nova Zembla'
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Rhododendron 'Nova Zembla'
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The Red Rhododendron, Nova Zembla, is a classic variety known for the brilliance of is flowers, its hardiness and its ability to grow well in sunny locations. One of a group of Rhododendrons described as ‘iron-clad’, this bush certainly deserves that name. This extremely hardy plant will grow in most places and will bring you with a fantastic show of large red blooms whose inner markings resemble leopard skin, with darks spots covering the upper inner petals. Easy to grow and maintain, this evergreen shrub will grow to around eight feet high and so allows planting where larger examples just could not be considered.
If you are new to growing Rhododendrons, this should be your first choice, since it is hardy in part-sun or shade, cold-tolerant and undemanding – a real beauty for easy growing and trouble-free gardening.
Finding that perfect plant that brings vibrancy and color to your garden is very satisfying but usually involves a lot of looking and research. Sizeable plants are especially tricky as the height and breadth have to be considered when choosing that perfect spot. Rhododendrons have long been used to bring drama into our landscape and they can be either very small or extraordinarily large. This variety gives a good shrub-like height and structure without trying to spread or seed elsewhere in your garden, and it won’t obscure the sunlight with a high dense body of leaves.
Red Rhododendron Nova Zembla will fatten itself outwards, growing into a large mound of lovely deep green foliage that in mid-spring every year will become smothered in wonderfully dramatic red flowers that attract bees and butterflies to your property. There is much drama added to your green spaces when utilizing this cross breed but very little work needed to maintain it. When you plant one of these you’ll find it a great trade off of doing very little to shape or maintain, but being the recipient of a great reddish pink cloud of blooms come mid spring that will attract a wide variety of visiting wildlife.
There is a huge range of different plants in the rhododendron species, and there are now many cross breeds which accentuate particular features. They are native to a good many areas including North America, Russia, Asia, Australia and the Solomon Islands to name but a few, and they are generally considered to be Alpine native plants. Because of this wide range, they are suited to many varied environments. Rhododendron Nova Zembla is possibly the hardiest of all the hybrids available and has few things that are considered a must for successful growth.
When choosing a position for your Nova Zembla be sure to take into account the plant’s desire for full sun. Although these plants will tolerate partial shade, they will give the best flower performance with plenty of sun and warmth. It is important that the soil is well-drained, as although they like to moist, they do not like to be left in standing water or boggy patches as this can cause various rots. Winter winds can be unkind too, so it is worth finding a spot that will offer some shelter once the temperature drops and the breeze cools – although this is not always necessary, as the variety really is considerably hardier than your average rhododendron.
Well–drained soil is a must and when you are planting your new addition out into your chosen spot, be sure to bear in mind that the roots of this plant sit just under the soil and do not want a hole digging that is deeper than the depth of the pot you bought it in. Apply an acid rich mulch and plenty of water to introduce it to its new home. It will perform to its best in slightly acidic to neutral soil, so if you have alkaline soil then it is always worth looking at potted versions that can grace seating areas and patios. Planting in alkaline soil can result in a yellowing of the leaves and could eventually kill the plant without remedial action.
Be sure to keep your plant moist and preferably do this with rain water, as the many chemicals in tap water can upset rhododendrons, although as already mentioned this hybrid is vastly more forgiving than many others and will tolerate most of what you throw at it. Thanks to its hardiness, it does not suffer especially from diseases or pests but it is wise to ensure that your rhododendron has plenty of room for air as this keeps the chances mildew to a minimum, especially on a plant as dense as this one.
After bloom, an acid rich fertilizer can be added, and in order to help keep it cool in the height of summer a layer of mulch can be laid at the base of the plant; this will also assist with stopping the top soil, beneath which the roots sit, from drying out too much. Pruning should be undertaken after the flowers have dropped as this is when next year’s buds form; if pruning take places after this has happened then you will be reducing the show you’re looking forward to in spring.
When you have catered to the few needs of this particular hybrid then this fast growing plant will become a lovely compact mound of evergreen foliage that every year will explode with huge numbers of richly colored blooms, and it should continue doing this for around 40 years. Bees and butterflies will thank you for this bright and bold addition to your landscape whether the local climate is hot or cold. Nova Zembla is indeed a fabulous member of the rhododendron family, and we encourage you to browse other varieties like the Everred Rhododendron or the Lemon Ice Rhododendron.
When choosing companion plants for Nova Zembla Rhododendron, consider plants that share its light, soil, and moisture requirements. Azaleas, ferns, and hostas are excellent choices as they thrive in similar conditions. Azaleas, like rhododendrons, prefer slightly acidic soil and can tolerate full sun. Ferns and hostas can provide beautiful contrasting textures with their delicate, feathery fronds and broad leaves respectively.
To encourage more blooms on your Nova Zembla Rhododendron, ensure it is getting plenty of sun as this variety performs best in full sun. After the flowers have dropped, apply an acid-rich fertilizer to nourish the plant and promote bud formation. Also, remember to prune just after the flowers have dropped. This is when next year’s buds form, and pruning at this time will stimulate the plant to produce more flower buds for the next season.
While Nova Zembla Rhododendron is a hardy variety, it can still be susceptible to certain pests and diseases. Common pests include aphids and vine weevils, and diseases can include root rot and powdery mildew. To prevent these, ensure your rhododendron is planted in well-drained soil as standing water can lead to root rot. Also, give your plant plenty of room for air circulation to prevent powdery mildew. Regularly check for signs of pests and treat as necessary.
Yes, Nova Zembla Rhododendron can be grown in a pot. Ensure the pot has good drainage as this plant does not like to sit in water. Use a potting mix designed for acid-loving plants to provide the slightly acidic to neutral soil conditions that this rhododendron prefers. Remember to water regularly as potted plants can dry out faster than those in the ground.
Nova Zembla Rhododendron can be propagated through cuttings. Take a cutting from a healthy, mature plant in late summer or early fall. The cutting should be from new growth and about 4-6 inches long. Remove the lower leaves and dip the cut end in rooting hormone. Plant the cutting in a pot filled with a mix of peat moss and perlite. Keep the cutting moist and in a location with indirect light until roots develop.
With proper care and optimal growing conditions, a Nova Zembla Rhododendron can live and continue blooming for around 40 years. This makes it a long-lived addition to your garden, providing beauty and color for many years.