Rhododendron ferrugineum L.
Alpenrose, Snow Rose, Rusty-leaved Alpenrose, Alpine Rose
Azalea ferruginea, Chamaerhododendron ferrugineum, Plinthocroma ferrugineum
Bloom Time: Summer
Rhododendron ferrugineum is an evergreen shrub that grows up to 3.3 feet (1 m) tall and produces clusters of pinkish-red, bell-shaped flowers throughout the summer. The undersides of the leaves are covered in rust-brown spots, which give the species its scientific name.
How to Grow and Care
Once properly located in the planting bed, water thoroughly and cover with an organic mulch, which will break down to supply nutrients as it decomposes. A pine bark covering applied at 2 inches (5 cm) is thought to inhibit fungi that cause root rot. Do not mulch with peat moss, as it is difficult to rewet after it has dried out. Proper mulching will decrease the need for future care.
Rhododendron care includes yearly fertilization, which is best applied in fall, following a hard freeze or in early spring. Use fertilizer for acid-loving plants, such as organic cottonseed meal. The organic material you have worked into the soil previously will break down to provide some of the necessary nutrients.
Consistently moist soil is needed for proper care, but too much water creates problems for the growing Rhododendron. When leaves curl and twist, this indicates that water is required immediately. The Rhododendron bush should not be allowed to go through the stress of wilting. See more at How to Grow and Care for Rhododendron.