Article Copied from the American Rhododendron Society Blog

Print date: 10/1/2022

Rhododendron decorum

15 August 2022 @ 11:45 | Posted by Admin

Rhododendron decorum was first described by Adrien Rene Franchet in 1886 from a plant collected in Moupin, western Sichuan. It was introduced to cultivation in 1887 by Pere Jean Marie Delavay. In the wild it can be found throughout west and southwest Sichuan, southeast Tibet, northwest Yunnan and northeast upper Burma. It grows in pine, spruce, and open deciduous forests, and on grassy mountains and rocky scrub. It is found at elevations of 6000 to 15,000 feet.

The foliage is variable but typically shaped oblanceolate to elliptic, up to 7" long, smooth green on both surfaces, with rounded ends. The funnel-campanulate flowers are white to pink to pale lavender, variously marked and quite fragrant. Held in an open-top truss with 7-12 flowers.

There are two subspecies, ssp. decorum and ssp. diaprepes, with the former having smaller leaves and corolla and fewer stamens.

R. decorum is quite variable in hardiness. Typical cold hardiness is 0°F (-18°C).

Plants in cultivation are easily grown and generally bloom at an early age. With a May/June bloom time and a pleasant fragrance, R. decorum is worth growing in your gardens.

R, decorum has found considerable use with hybridizers and many fine hybrids have been produced, including R. 'Caroline', 'Lackamas Spice', 'Newcomb's Sweetheart', 'Apricot Sherbet', and 'September Song'.