Rhododendron camtschaticum - Kamchatka rhododendron

Can there be anything more attractive than the Kamchatka rhododendron when it flowers in the low scrub of the forest or among rocks? However, few recognise it as a rhododendron, and even among botanists there has been difference of opinion because the flowers don’t appear from buds formed the previous year, but from buds hidden inside the branches.

The Kamchatka rhododendron is deciduous and low-growing, with large (relative to the plant) violet, sometimes red or white, flowers raised above the plant, usually opening around Midsummer. The flowering is sparse, but continues through to autumn. The leaves turn orange-red before falling.

Kamchatka rhododendron is native to the cold areas on either side of the Bering Strait: it grows both in Alaska and in the Kamchatka Peninsula, and as far south as Japan. It thrives best in cool spots but flowers best in good light conditions.

This rhododendron is hardy in Finland at least to zone V and, given the best provenances, throughout the whole country, as long as it is provided with a suitable site and doesn’t have too much competition from other plants.


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