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If brilliant color is what you crave, then Nova Zembla Rhododendron is the Accent for you. This zesty evergreen bursts into glorious, blazing color in late spring or very early summer. Its blossoms are often described as red, though a deep, dazzling, hot pink is more accurate. Illuminate the shady borders near your porch or patio with its intense blooms. When not in flower, Nova Zembla is still a worthy addition to your landscape, adding valuable structure and bold texture all year-round. You can also use it as a pretty privacy screen or a divider between two outdoor “rooms.”
- Hardiness Zone: 5
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Nova Zembla is a type of Catawba Rhododendron. In late April through June, the Catawba Rhododendron lights up shady hillsides and forest understory in the Alleghany Mountains, bringing its rosy purple cheer to a region extending from southern Virginia to northern Alabama. This near-red selection therefore has its origins in the U.S., though it also has an allegiance to the Netherlands, where it was first grown. Koster & Sons Nurseries of Boskoop developed the plant near the turn of the last century and introduced it in 1902. It was named after the Russian island of Nova Zembla, a.k.a. Novaya Zemlya.
Some Rhododendrons can be a bit tricky to grow, but Nova Zembla is one of the most resilient. With proper care, it thrives in the colder states—down to -25ºF—and tolerates the heat and humidity of the South as well. This one is a winner!
How to Grow
Catawba Rhododendron is tougher than many Rhododendrons, but it does appreciate good siting and aftercare. Plant Nova Zembla in part shade, in cool, acidic, well-drained soil for best results. Keep the rootzone moist but never soggy. An annual layer of organic mulch will help to retain moisture. Avoid harsh chemical fertilizers—Catawba Rhododendron is sensitive to overfeeding;a gentle organic product like Bower & Branch Elements™ Fertilizer is all that is needed if plants seem weak or “hungry.” Black vine weevil and Azalea lace bug can sometimes be an issue, but specimens grown in optimal conditions in most cases will remain healthy and resistant to attack.
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