R. fulvum makes a bush often clothed to the ground with leathery dark green leaves that curl down at the edges. The leaves curl the long way in bright sunshine and form tight tubes when it turns cold.
Fulvum is Latin for “tawny” and the underside of the its leaves are covered with an orange indumentum that makes this plant great. It’s soft pink flowers in early spring are an added bonus.
This species rhododendron comes from Yunnan and adjacent eastern Upper Burma. It can be grown as a tree or a bush depending on where you plant it — bushier out in the open, more tree-like in the shade. Here in the Northwest, it may grow to five feet in ten years.
R. fulvum will like: Small amounts of fertilizer on Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, gentle watering that keeps it moist and good drainage with well-aerated soil.