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Rhododendron of the Year Plant Awards: 2008

South East USA Region

R. 'Vivacious'

Elepidote Rhododendron: 'Vivacious'

Flower strong red with no markings, openly funnel-shaped, wavy lobes, 2" across.  Ball-shaped trusses hold 10 or more flowers.  Blooms late midseason.  Leaves narrowly elliptic, acute apex, cuneate base, 5" long, medium green, retained 2 years.  Plant rounded, broader than tall.  Typical growth height: 3 ft. in 10 years.  Plant is hardy to -5F (-21C).  Hybridized by Forster at the Vineland Station Horticultural Research Institute.

R. 'Olga Mezitt'

Lepidote Rhododendron: 'Olga Mezitt'

Flower light purplish pink with inconspicuous gold green blotch that ages to reddish brown, openly to tubular funnel-shaped, wavy lobes, 1" across.  Dome-shaped trusses hold about 12 flowers.  Blooms early midseason.  Leaves lanceolate shaped with acute apex and cuneate base, convex, 2" long, yellow-green.  Leaves turn mahogany color in winter.  Upright growth habit.  Reaches an approximate height of 3 ft. in 10 years.  Cold hardy to -15F (-26C).  Hybridized by Mezitt.

R. 'Elsie Lee'

Evergreen Azalea: 'Elsie Lee'

Flower light reddish purple, widely funnel-shaped, 2" to 2" across, frilly edges, semi-double.  Inflorescence 2 to 3 flowered.  Blooms late midseason.  Leaves broadly elliptic, acute apex, rounded base, 1" long, glossy, moderate yellow-green, held for 2 years.  Upright, broad plant habit.  Grows to a typical height of 3 ft. in 10 years.  Hardy to -15F (-26C).  Hybridized by Shammarello.

R. austrinum

Deciduous Azalea: R. austrinum

Known variously as the Flame azalea, Florida azalea, or the Florida Flame azalea.  Flower in shades of yellow, gold, and orange, narrowly funnel-shaped, very fragrant.  Blooms early midseason.  Leaves ovate or obovate to elliptic, up to 4" long, deciduous.  Reaches up to 10 ft. in the wild, but will often remain smaller in the garden, with a spread about half its height.  One of the easiest of the native azaleas to grow.  Cold hardy to -15F (-26C).  Very heat tolerant.  Native species found in the Florida panhandle and nearby areas of Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi.

Photos (top to bottom) by Bill Stipe, Sally and John Perkins, Henk Borsje, Boris Bauer.

Prior Years Selections for South East USA Region



















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