A wonderful species, R. auriculatum deserves a place in your garden because it blooms late (July-August) and its funnel-shaped white-to-light-pink flowers are deliciously fragrant!
It eventually forms an upright spreading tree, but it is more likely to reach about six feet in ten years. The new growth shows off lovely long, red ribbon-like bracts and the narrow green leaves are hairy!
R. auriculatum’s forebears live in China, in wooded high ridges and forest slopes. It was introduced to the west in 1901 and, although not easy to find, has endeared itself to gardeners and collectors alike.
This rhododendron will like shade and filtered sun, small amounts of fertilizer on Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, gentle and ample watering especially in its summertime period of new growth and flowering, well drained and aerated soil.
It’s hardy for western Washington (to -5 degrees F) and is also fairly heat tolerant.