Roseum Elegans RhododendronRhododendron catawbiense 'Roseum Elegans'
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Rhododendron catawbiense 'Roseum Elegans'
Outdoor Growing zone
The Roseum Elegans Rhododendron is a wonderful and vigorous cold-hardy rhododendrons, with long, glossy evergreen leaves. It flowers spectacularly in May or June, with big, bold trusses of many large blooms. They are a wonderful lilac-purple color, turning more pink-purple as they mature. It forms a handsome rounded bush 6 to 8 feet tall and wide, looking almost as lovely when not in bloom as when it is. Perfect for beds, foundation planting and woodland areas.
Partial shade will produce the best results with the Roseum Elegans Rhododendron, with some morning sun, or in the light dappled shade beneath deciduous trees. It is very hardy, thriving even in zone 4. It should be grown in rich, moist, well-drained soil that is acidic, with a pH value below 6.5. if you don’t have suitable soil it grows perfectly for many years in a large tub, using soil blended for acid-loving plants. It’s usually free of pests and diseases and deer normally won’t touch it.
Enjoy the magic of spring to the full with a spectacular display of rhododendrons in your garden. These wonderful flowers turn a shady bed into a magic kingdom, and if your soil is suitable they really are not a lot of work. Their bold evergreen leaves give structure and maturity to your beds, and what better place to start than with the Roseum Elegans Rhododendron? This classic large-leaf shrub grows into an impressive 6 to 8-foot mound of evergreen leaves, crowned in late spring with huge trusses of bell-shaped ruffled flowers. Their gorgeous lilac-purple color gradually turns purple-pink as they mature, and a more striking and dramatic look just can’t be found anywhere else. Wonderful when planted around your home or edging an area of trees, you can look forward to years of increasing beauty with a top-quality shrub like this one. A gift for northern gardeners too, since it’s one of the hardiest evergreen rhododendrons you can grow – very vigorous and easy to succeed with. It’s an heirloom variety from the 19th century that’s still very popular and reliable, bred from a native species found in the Allegheny mountains.
The Roseum Elegans Rhododendron is a vigorous-growing evergreen shrub with large, oval leaves up to 6 inches long, with a thick, leathery texture. They are glossy and deep olive green, holding their color well through winter. With many branches, it develops into a rounded mound, reaching about 6 feet tall after 10 years of growth. Flower buds form in late summer, and pass through the winter tightly closed, opening when the warmth of spring returns. These large buds develop at the end of every stem, and each one carries around 20 blooms. The flowers cluster into a rounded truss, each bloom bell-shaped with a ruffled mouth and almost 2½ inches across. The color is a lovely lilac-purple, becoming more pink-purple as the flowers mature. The inside of the bloom is decorated with freckles of red-brown. Blooming comes late, after many other rhododendrons, extending the season very nicely. In cooler zones it can be June before flowering ends, or in May in warmer areas. When in full bloom the flowers are so profuse they almost obscure the leaves completely. As flowering comes to an end the new shoots grow out from just below the flower truss.
Ideal for any semi-shaded part of your garden, the bold form of this shrub is perfect in beds, among the trimmed evergreens around your home, or bordering a wooded area. If you have an area of open trees and suitable soil you can build a gorgeous garden starting with this rhododendron and adding others, as well as azaleas, camellias, mountain laurel, Pieris, and other acid-loving woodland plants. In warmer areas you could also grow this plant in a tub for many years.
This is one of the most cold-resistant rhododendrons available, hardy to minus 25 Fahrenheit, and a must for every northern garden. It is completely hardy in zone 5 and in sheltered places in most of zone 4 as well. It grows well through all other zones, except for zone 9. The secret is the late blooming, which means the buds stay safely dormant and hardy through the uncertain ups and downs of late winter and early spring.
Partial shade is the ideal location for you Roseum Elegans Rhododendron. Morning sun and shelter from the heat of midday and early afternoon is ideal. In cold zones it can take more sun, especially in spring and fall. Light dappled shade beneath deciduous trees is also perfect for this shrub, but avoid the deep, heavy shade of large evergreen trees. The soil should be rich, moist and well-drained, and it should be acidic, with a pH value below 6.5. If you don’t have suitable soil, from zone 6 it can be grown outdoors in a pot or tub, using soil blended for acid-loving shrubs. With its fine root system it will live happily, and grow well, in a pot.
If the soil and light is suitable, this plant is very easy to grow. It rarely has pest or disease problems, and deer avoid it (all parts of this plant are toxic). The only care needed is to dead-head one the blooms fall. Do this by snapping out the old flower stem just above the first leaves. If you wait until the new buds are opening it is easy to see where to break off the flower head. This prevents seeds forming, and diverts the energy of the plant into blooms for next year. After a few years you can remove any weak or dead stems, but it is best not to prune this plant – one less job to do in the garden.
Rhododendron catawbiense is a shrub native to North America. It grows wild in dense thickets in woods on the mountains of North Carolina and Virginia. In 1810 a plant was being grown in the nurseries of the Waterer family at Knap Hill, in southern England. Using that plant they developed a whole range of hybrids that were vigorous and very cold-hardy. In the 19th century in England, rhododendrons were incredibly popular and new, with many nurseries competing to have the latest varieties. Waterer’s became famous for its many varieties, mostly bred from that one original bush, crossed with other species, particularly the Himalayan Rhododendron arboreum. Perhaps the most outstanding, and still the most popular, is the variety called ‘Roseum Elegans’, which they first showed in their catalogue in 1851. 170 years later it is still going strong.
This marvelous heirloom shrub has American roots, and it deserves to be in every American garden where it can be grown. It is always hugely popular with northern gardens, and the one to try if you live in cold zones and love rhododendrons. The demand is always high, so order now – our stock really won’t last long at all.