There are too many rhododendrons here. Working with them in a landscape situation is very different from growing them on the farm. The farm generates hundreds of primary cultivars, with hundreds of others to potentially introduce. Thousands of plants grow in cans on much of forty acres. Ideally, most develop an abundance of floral buds, but then leave the farm prior to bloom. Here, only a few hundred rhododendrons bloom well and mature within their landscapes with no intentions of ever leaving. These are mostly pink with one that blooms pinkish red.

1. Mothers’ Day Rhododendron blooms reliably for Mothers’ Day annually, regardless of how early or late other neighboring rhododendrons bloom. No one knows its real name.

2. Now that I see this one in this picture, I do not remember if it was more rosy in color. It seems to be a simpler but bright pink now. I am not so proficient with analyzing color.

3. This one also seems to be a bit different from how I remember it. I thought that it was more like watermelon red, rather than reddish pink. This is why I will not choose colors.

4. Oh, I should remember the name of this one. My colleague grew it! I delivered it years ago. It looks like ‘Rocket’ but I do not believe that it is. I should have saved the old label.

5. Of these Six, this is the only rhododendron that I know the name of, and is one of only a few that I may identify here. It is one of the most common cultivars; ‘Mrs. G. W. Leak’.

6. Most of our rhododendrons here are pink or purple. Only a few are red. This might be the darkest red here. I refer to it as ‘Taurus’, but it is not. Individual flowers open widely.

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:


18 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: Rhody’s Rhodies 2022 – Pretty In Pink

    1. Oh, about that, . . . well, I suspected that someone would bring it up. There are just so many of these dang flowers that are named after him that it was necessary to discretely (well, as discretely as possible) omit his picture. I apologize. Just so you know, there are six more pictures of exclusively floral rhodies for next week also, without accommodation for the canine sort. I tried to abbreviate by limiting such display to a dozen (two groups of six).


  1. I have a couple of purple ones in my garden which seem happy, but my red one is sick, I will try cutting it back after it has flowered. I did try feed, but it has gone all yellow and parts died.

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    1. Try to leave some foliage on it. I prefer to prune other plants very aggressively to stimulate new growth. However, if I do the same with rhododendrons, it kills them, or severely distressed them.
      Purple is likely my least favorite color. White is my favorite color. However, rhododendrons excel at purple, but not white. Seriously, white rhododendrons are generally not as pretty as colorful sorts; and purple rhododendrons are probably the prettiest. Of the hundreds of cultivars that we grew, only two were classified as ‘pure’ white. One of those two produced round trusses that looked like baseballs. They were silly. The other produced exquisite trusses, but on stems that sprawled flat on the ground. The trusses sort of curved upward at right angles, . . . They are weird. Purple rhododendrons develop good form and bloom on well structured trusses, and the purple color is exquisite! It would be nice to get a white rhododendron to do that.

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    1. That is the advantage of so many. I selected none of them though. Otherwise, they would not be so interesting. I would have tried to get more white, which is a boring color for rhododendrons, and neglected the purple, which is a great color for rhododendrons.

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    1. A few weeks?! Wow, that must be nice. With the dogwoods and flowering cherry, almost all of the most impressive bloom here happens in early spring. We are trying to add more color for late spring and summer. (This involves crape myrtle, which I am none too keen on.) ‘Mrs. G. W. Leak’ might have been the most popular cultivar grown at the farm. If not, it was within the five most popular cultivars. ‘Taurus’ was a popular cultivar a long time ago; but my colleague who grows rhododendrons disliked its susceptibility to thrip. He promoted other red rhododendrons instead. Realistically, the color of the not ‘Taurus’ is not very similar to the real ‘Taurus’, but it is one of the two deepest reds here. There was one that was deeper red, but it succumbed to decay a while ago.

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  2. I like the red one, perhaps because it’s the odd one out. We can grow rhodos and azaleas here, and you see them in many gardens (especially the richer, older residential parts of town) but they’re seldom very happy. Our soil isn’t naturally acidic like the west coast, plus it gets so humid in summer with often little rain (but in richer areas they have irrigation, of course).

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    1. Actually, they are happier farther north of here, in the Pacific Northwest. They happen to be happy here in the Santa Cruz Mountains, but not in the chaparral climates farther inland. The soil is slightly acidic only within the redwood forests. The soil of the Santa Clara Valley is actually slightly alkaline. We grow cultivars that are happier here than in the Pacific Northwest. However, now that big box stores are selling rhododendrons, cultivars that prefer the Pacific Northwest are becoming available locally. Most do not last long.


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