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Celebrate spring with jewel-tone blossoms! Purple Gem Rhododendron is a choice Accent valued for its lovely, sparkling flowers. The profuse amethyst-purple blooms make a scintillating display when the weather turns warm. Fresh new leaves follow in a soothing gray-blue color. This dapper evergreen is also appreciated for its low, tight habit. Growing slowly, it will never overtake the planting bed or cover up the windows while your back is turned. Use it as a tidy edger in a lightly shaded border or as a charming specimen in a small landscape bed to add a splash of springtime color.
- Hardiness Zone: 6
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Hybrid Evergreen Rhododendrons are the glorious 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! East meets West in Purple Gem Rhododendron, the result of a cross between a Chinese species and an American one. A New Jersey plantsman named G.G. Nearing introduced it in 1958.
Some Rhododendrons can be a bit tricky to grow, but Purple Gem is one of the most resilient. With proper care, it thrives in the colder states—down to at least -20ºF—and tolerates the heat and humidity of the South as well. This one is a winner!
How to Grow
Rhododendrons appreciate a little pampering. They thrive when shielded from hot summer sun and given moist but well-drained, acidic soil. 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 Purple Gem Rhododendronimmediately after blooming, as next year’s flower buds are formed in summer.
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