How to Identify Rhododendron Species

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Rhododendrons are a beautiful group of flowers that encompass many types and styles. Each different rhododendron requires a specific method of pruning and care. To take your rhododendrons to the best level of health, you must first identify the species. Rhododendrons can be white, violet, blush pink, red and yellow. They can have from five to eight petals per bloom, and those petals may be rough-edged or have smooth curves. The fragrance may be potent or mild, the blossom may be large or minute. Paying close attention to detail will help to identify your species and set you on the course to the perfect care schedule.

Things You'll Need

  • Pen
  • Paper
  • Camera
  • Measuring tape

Feel and examine the foliage on the plant. Note whether the leaves are a bright green or a richer, darker tone. Are the leaves pointed or rounded? Do they have jagged edges or are there smoother curves to the bends? Note the thickness of the leaves and stems, and whether they have texture. Capture a picture for comparison with other pictures and their definitions during research.

Measure the blooms. Some rhododendrons have large blooms that can grow to over 4 inches wide. Some are much smaller and dainty.The dwarf P.J.M. rhododendron bloom is the size of a tea rose, and pink or purple in color. Note your findings and take photos of the blooms themselves in the summer while they are at their peak.

Examine the color of the blossoms. Some varieties of rhododendrons will only bloom in one true color. The Janet Blair is a light pink bloom, the Catawbiense is pure white, and the Nova Zembla is a strong red. These types are normally the oldest species and not hybrids. Hybrids versions are often found in a multitude of colors like pinkish-orange and yellowish-white. The English Roseum is a multi-colored bloom that has rose tints within a purple hue.

Cross reference your findings with informative sites and photos on the Internet or source book. By checking the coloring, size and style of growth, you will identify your rhododendron species.

Tips & Warnings

  • Pictures will always help you to identify your flower, yet if you are unable to take pictures, detailed descriptions are a must.
  • Wear gloves whenever inspecting your plants. You could easily come upon spiders or insects.

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