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PJM Elite Rhododendron
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Not afraid of the cold! PJM Elite is a rugged Accent that lets homeowners in the northern states enjoy the pleasures of Rhododendron-growing. Evergreen Rhododendrons are some of the most beautiful plants you can buy, but many of them are too tender to grow in our coldest regions. PJM Elite is one remarkable exception. Tolerating winter lows to -30ºF, it sails through some of the roughest winters and puts on a dazzling show of lavender-pink blooms in early spring. We love it with Daffodils and early woodland wildflowers in a lightly shaded entryway garden or patio planting.
- Hardiness Zone: 5
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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. East meets West in the fabulous hybrid PJM Rhododendrons. In the late 1930s, Peter J. Mezitt (hence the name ‘PJM’) and his sonEdmund began breeding these useful selections at their family nursery near Boston, Massachusetts. They used the American Piedmont Rhododendron and the North Asian Dahurian Rhododendron as the parents. PJM Elite is a descendant of those original offspring and was introduced in 1987. It is larger-growing, more vigorous, pinker, and a little later-blooming than other selections. Some consider Elite to be the best PJM of all.
Small leathery leaves give PJM Elite Rhododendron eye-appeal all year long. The dark olive-green foliage turns a fascinating warm mocha color in the wintertime. The leaves also have an unusual but pleasant herbal scent. Plant PJM Elite near an inviting sitting area, where you and your guests can sample the fresh fragrance.
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 PJM Elite Rhododendronimmediately after blooming, as next year’s flower buds are formed in summer.
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