R. praestans

R. praestans is a wonderful slow-growing member of the majestic big leaved rhodies that give a bold “tropical” look in the landscape. This one has a shiny bronzy-brown plastered indumentum on the back of long rugulose leaves that taper at the base. As the plant matures, the indumentum will become shiny gray-white to fawn. The winged petiole is another detail that establishes R. praestans’ identity.

R. praestans is one of the slowest growing of the “big leaves” and so will not take over the entire garden. It also seems to be one of the hardiest, so it does well here in the Northwest. It comes from a limited area at the corner of Yunnan, Sichuan and Burma.

During the difficult “late summer, early freeze” in November 2010, brave young R. praestans plants in one gallon containers overwintered under the trees in the garden and emerged in spring 2011 looking absolutely wonderful.

R. praestans would appreciate: a mix of sun and shade – a woodland setting is perfect

Small amounts of fertilizer on Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.

Gentle watering that keeps it moist.

Good drainage with well-aerated (loose) soil.