R. ochraceum

Only introduced to the West in 1995, this species is proving to be a winner. It blooms easily, and the flowers are an intense rich red with nectar pouches deep in the center. The foliage keeps its frosted look year round, and the indumentum on the underside of the leaf blends nicely with upper side. Best of all, it seems to be fairly compact – four feet in ten years.

R. ochraceum makes a well-rounded shrub. Because it blooms in March and April when it is still relatively cool, the flowers last for up to three weeks. The intensity of the red is truly outstanding. The truss, while of moderate size, is a well rounded ball. Give it a mix of sun and shade.

R. ochraceum will also like: Small amounts of fertilizer on Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day and loose, well-drained soil with consistent gentle watering.

It seems to be perfectly hardy here in Western Washington, even escaping damage in the killer winter of 2010.