The RSBG’s collection of species rhododendrons begin blooming as early as January, depending on the weather. When we experience unseasonably warm temperatures in late winter, it tends to “trick” many of the early-blooming species into flowering early, before most people are even thinking about “spring flowers.”
Here are some of the rhododendrons and companion plants that you may find bloom in the Garden in late winter:
Rhododendron hirtipes is a rarely encountered species with vibrant, “hot pink” flowers that are very attractive in early spring. This plant is native to SE Tibet.
Rhododendron leucaspis features flat white flowers and chocolate anthers. The leaves are densely covered with soft hairs. This plant is native to SE Tibet.
Rhododendron lutescens has pale yellow flowers and attractive reddish new growth.
Rhododendron oreodoxa v. fargesii is is an easily grown and free flowering species with very frost hardy flower buds. That is why they bloom reliably every year despite the early season bloom. It is native to woodlands in Sichuan, Gansu, and Hubei in China.
Rhododendron praevernumis quite showy and a very hardy species that is native to W. Hubei and E. Sichuan, China.
Rhododendron ririei has bell-shaped flowers that are purplish in color with dark nectar pouches and the lower surface of the leaves is covered with a thin plastered indumentum. It is native to a limited area of Sichuan, China.
Rhododendron strigillosum welcomes you to the Garden as you enter to the courtyard. This early flowering species puts on a spectacular display every year, often starting to bloom in January. It has distinctive bristles on the midrib, petiole, and foliage. R. strigillosum is native to Sichuan and NE Yunnan, China.
Mahonia has bright yellow flowers which are a valuable food source for over-wintering hummingbirds.
Narcissus cyclamineus has very attractive bright yellow pendant flowers with sharply reflexed petals. They thrive in damp conditions.
Ypsilandra thibetica is a clumping evergreen perennial plant that is a lily relative from China. This easily grown woodland wildflower with very fragrant, white blooms was introduced into cultivation by the RSBG and is available in our Nursery.