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Classic and captivating! Roseum Elegans Catawba Rhododendron is a cherished heirloom Accent that has been gracing the finest gardens since before Lincoln was in the White House. Your great-great-grandparents may have delighted in its sumptuous rosy lavender blooms each year. You can do the same in your own garden. During those sweet, mild days of late spring or very early summer (depending on where you live)—when it’s a joy to sit outside on your patio or porch—Roseum Elegans opens its bountiful trusses of beckoning blossoms. A stunner.
- Hardiness Zone: 5
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n 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 American native was named after Native Americans—the Catawba people have their homeland in South Carolina. Roseum Elegans therefore has its origins in the U.S., but also in England, where it was first grown. The Waterer family of the illustrious Knap Hill Nurseries in Sussex brought this revered Accent to life. Hosea Waterer, who actually lived in Philadelphia, is credited with its introduction in 1851.
With its large, dense evergreen foliage, Roseum Elegans Catawba Rhododendron makes a bold statement in the landscape in and out of bloom. Use it as a strong structural Accent in your foundation plantings or mixed borders. It also makes a lush privacy screen around a shady seating area.
How to Grow
Catawba Rhododendron is tougher than many Rhododendrons, but it does appreciate good siting and aftercare. Plant Roseum Elegans 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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