We saw the forebears of this plant in the wild in NW Yunnan at about 10,000 feet elevation in 2000. These plants are quite rare in our gardens. The species has been divided into three sub-species mostly on the basis of the presence or absence of glands.
This neat, low-growing shrub, grown here in Western Washington, may reach 3 – 4 feet in 10 years. Its tubular, fleshy, bell-shaped carmine red flowers may range from 5 to 12 per truss. Its leaves are about 4 inches in length.
This early mid-season bloomer is hardy to 5 degrees Fahrenheit, although hardiness is never a hard and fast number.
This rhododendron will like: Moderate sun and part shade, small amounts of fertilizer on Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, gentle watering.