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Rhododendron ponticum

Pontic rhododendron

R. ponticum is a densely branched evergreen shrub with tough, leathery, dark green, oval leaves. Produces terminal trusses of 10 to 15 purple, funnel-shaped flowers in spring. Often used as a rootstock, surviving when the grafted variety has died

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Size
Ultimate height
2.5–4 metres
Time to ultimate height
10–20 years
Ultimate spread
2.5–4 metres
Growing conditions
Clay
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Moist but well–drained
pH
Acid
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Purple Green
Summer Green
Autumn Green
Winter Green
Position
  • Full shade
  • Full sun
  • Partial shade
Aspect

South–facing or West–facing or North–facing or East–facing

Exposure
Exposed or Sheltered
Hardiness
H6
Botanical details
Family
Ericaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Evergreen
Habit
Bushy
Potentially harmful
Harmful if eaten. Wear gloves and other protective equipment when handling
Genus

Rhododendron can be evergreen or deciduous shrubs or trees, with simple leaves, sometimes with a dense colourful indumentum of hairs on the lower side, and funnel-shaped, bell-shaped or tubular flowers that may be solitary or in short racemes

Name status

Correct

Plant range
Europe Asia

How to grow

Cultivation

This plant is listed on Schedule 9 of the UK Wildlife and Countryside Act as an invasive, non-native species. While this does not prevent it from being sold in the UK, or from being grown in gardens, the RHS encourages those that do grow it to take great care with managing it and with disposing of unwanted material. The RHS also encourages gardeners to find alternative plants to grow to those listed on Schedule 9. For suggested alternative plants see the Plantlife/RHS guide: Gardening without harmful invasive plants

Propagation

Spreads naturally by seed and by layering

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Low Maintenance
  • Hedging and screens
  • Banks and slopes
Pruning

Pruning group 8

Pests

May be susceptible to vine weevil, rhododendron and azalea whitefly, rhododendron leafhopper, pieris lacebug, scale insects, caterpillars and aphids

Diseases

May be susceptible to various Rhododendron diseases including powdery mildews, rhododendron petal blight, rhododendron bud blast, silver leaf and honey fungus

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