Rhododendrons are shrubs with showy flowers in spring, usually in shade of white, pink, purple and red. Some types of rhododendrons that lose their leaves in winter are commonly called azaleas. Relatively few rhododendrons are fully hardy in the Chicago area or can cope well with its alkaline soils. The hybrid Rhododendron P.J.M. does very well in cold climates and is one of the hardier rhododendrons for the Chicago region. It is able to tolerate near neutral soils.
- Evergreen (foliage year-round)
- Mixed border,
- Medium shrub (5-8 feet),
- Small shrub (3-5 feet)
- Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily),
- Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)
- Zone 4,
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7
- Acid soil,
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Mid spring,
- Late spring
Size & Form
A hybrid evergreen rhododendron reaching 3 to 6 feet high and wide.
Tree & Plant Care
Best planted in spring.
Prefers a moist, acidic, organic-rich soil. Will tolerate a higher soil pH , but well-drained soil is a must.
Locate in part shade to full shade in a protected site out of winter winds.
Plants are shallow-rooted and benefits with a layer of organic mulch to conserve moisture and moderate soil temperature fluctuations.
Water in dry periods.
Pruning is rarely needed but faded flowers can be removed to improve appearance.
Avoid pruning after July when new buds are forming for next years flowers.
Disease, pests, and problems
Root rots and crown rots can occur in too wet a soil.
Black vine weevils
Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife
Spring flowers attract butterflies including the giant swallowtail, pipevine swallowtail, and spicebush swallowtail.
Bark color and texture
Light straw-colored brown
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Smooth, dark green, 1 to 2 1/2 inch, elliptical, leathery evergreen leaves turn a mahogany to wine-red in fall
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Lavender-pink flowers bloom in clusters of 4-9 flowers in late spring.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
Plants set little or no seeds