The forebears of this plant live in the forests of Western Yunnan, China. R. rothschildii is a naturally occurring hybrid between two distinct species, most likely R. arielum x R. praestans, that has established itself in self-sustaining stands.
It is a handsome plant, rare in the West, with flowers that vary in color from white to cream to light pink. Twelve to seventeen small flowers form into a gorgeous, large truss.
In Western Washington, this is one of our most hardy “big leaves.” The back sides of the large leaves (expect them to reach eight to fourteen inches in length!) show a granular indumentum in a golden bronze color.
You will enjoy watching this unusual rhodie grow into a large shrub or tree over time.
This rhododendron will like: some protection from hot sun — small amounts of fertilizer on Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day — gentle watering — well aerated soil with good drainage.