A GEM of a dwarf, this rhodie has it all – a small stature, wonderful persistent indumentum in shades of rusty orange, frosty upper leaf surfaces, soft pink flowers, and a naturally branching form that makes it a year round winner.
It is native to Tibet, Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh and is very slow growing. Free flowering, it’s hard to decide whether the foliage or the blossoms are the best part.
R. tsariense might grow to four feet in thirty years. It likes mixed sun and shade but wants light. The indumentum persists, both on the top and the bottom of the leaves. It’s part of a distinct group of three species. R. lanatum and R. lanatoides are its nearest relatives.
It will like a fairly bright location but not full sun, small amounts of fertilizer on Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, gentle watering and well-aerated soil with good drainage. It’s hardy in western Washington.