Although you may think that you are familiar with the Rhododendron flower, it is unlikely that you are familiar with all of them. There are over 850 species that belong to the Rhododendron genus. They are native to many places around the world, including regions such as Asia, North America, and Europe. There are some that are native to Australia and the tropical areas of Southeast Asia as well. It is likely that the type you are familiar with is native to Asia, as this is where most Rhododendrons originated. In fact, most Rhododendron enthusiasts insist that the most beautiful varieties come from Asia.
Rhododendrons also differ immensely in shapes and sizes. There are some plants that have small trumpet-shaped flowers while others have extremely elongated versions. Some grow more like groundcovers while others can grow to massive trees that are almost 100 feet in height. They come in many different colors, such as white, red, pink, yellow, and shades that closely resemble orange, magenta, blue, and purple. It is because it is available in so many different colors and forms that it has become an extremely important plant in modern landscaping.
Because of its diversity and its many forms, it is not surprisingly that Rhododendrons are extremely popular, especially in the form of shrubs. They are commonly confused with Azaleas, though there are many features that set it apart. Although Azaleas are part of the same genus, Rhododendrons are evergreens while Azaleas are deciduous. Rhododendrons also grow to greater heights, resembling trees, while Azaleas are twiggy bushes. At most, an Azalea bush will reach a height of eight feet. Its flowers are similar though there are varieties of Rhododendrons that completely break away from the stereotypical Azalea flower.
Rhododendrons provide a gorgeous flower, especially if planted in the right conditions and environment. They are best in moderate climates. Anywhere that has an extremely hot or cold climate will hinder the plants growth. This particular plant also does poorly when it is planted in an area that receives excessive rainfall. Like the Azalea, Rhododendrons cannot survive extremely soggy conditions, especially if their roots stay consistently wet. When planting, Rhododendrons should be planted in an acidic soil. The soil should also drain well, as poor drainage will cause similar problems to that of excessive rainfall. If planted properly and if given the right soil and fertilization, Rhododendrons will bloom between March and May. Some species can provide blooms later in the summer, such as June and July. If you are looking to provide your garden with color as most of our blooms begin to fade away, these species may be the ideal choice. The great thing about Rhododendrons is that, because they are evergreens, they are capable of providing your garden with winter interest.
In fact, Rhododendrons are so popular that some states have actually made it their national flower. Washington has adopted it as its own and places such as British Columbia, Canada and California boast some of the most gorgeous wild varieties.