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As dark as a moonless Arctic winter night are this alluring Accent’s flower buds in spring. Soon, Polar Night Rhododendron’s black-purple buds swirl open to reveal luscious purple blooms, the color deep and satisfying like ripe plums. Few Rhododendrons can boast of having such richly hued blossoms as these. Forest-green leaves make a fine accompaniment to the sultry flowers, and they hold on to their tidy good looks all year long. Regal and refined, Polar Night makes a stately addition to any of the shady formal beds and borders around your home that are in need of some intrigue.
- 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! The late Hans Hachmann, a talented German plant breeder, introduced Polar Night in 1976. Hachmann learned the nursery business from his father, who owned a tree nursery. The young Hachmann developed a true passion for breeding plants, producing over 400 new varieties!
Polar Night Rhododendron (‘Polarnacht’ in its original German) has a low, compact, wide-spreading habit, making it especially valuable in foundation plantings. Use it underneath windows, where it will provide lush greenery in all seasons and it won’t grow too high and block your view from inside.
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 Polar Night Rhododendronimmediately after blooming, as next year’s flower buds are formed in summer.
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