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Cunningham’s White Rhododendron has truly stood the test of time. When Andrew Jackson was in the White House and Earl Grey was the Prime Minister of the U.K., this celebrated evergreen Accent was introduced. It has been loved ever since. Because of its hardiness and many other fine attributes, it has been used in hybridization perhaps more than any other Rhododendron. It is also a superb plant in its own right. A profuse and reliable bloomer, its pristine white blossoms are pure joy in spring. During the rest of the year, it will look sharp in your foundation beds, patio area, or woodland garden. A classic!
- Hardiness Zone: 6
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Hybrid Evergreen Rhododendrons are the result of years of patient breeding work done using countless species and forms of these spectacular Accents. Because of the efforts of so many professional and amateur plant lovers, we now have a rainbow of colors to choose from when selecting Rhododendrons for our homes. One website lists 15,000 varieties of Evergreen Rhododendrons in its database! James Cunningham of Comely Bank Nursery in Edinburgh, Scotland, bred Cunningham’s White. He released it in 1830. Then, as now, it received high marks for hardiness, disease resistance, and overall beauty.
Some Rhododendrons can be a bit tricky to grow, but Cunningham’s White is one of the most resilient. With proper care, it thrives in the colder states—down to -20ºF. This one is a winner!
How to Grow
Rhododendrons appreciate a little pampering. They thrive when shielded from hot summer sunand given moist but well-drained, acidic soil (though Cunningham’s White tolerates a higher-pH soil than most). They never like to dry out but don’t care for soggy conditions, either. Rhododendrons can “burn” from harsh chemical fertilizers, so feed with a gentle organic product like Bower & Branch Elements™ Fertilizer. Azalea lace bug can sometimes be an issue, but specimens grown in optimal conditions in most cases will remain healthy and resistant to attack. If pruning is necessary, trim your Cunningham’s White Rhododendron immediately after blooming, as next year’s flower buds are formed in summer.
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