Rhododendrun Luteum (Pontiac Azalea or Honeysuckle Azalea)

A gloriously perfumed hardy, deciduous shrub, from south-eastern Europe and south-western Asia. Please contact us for stock availability and sizes.

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A gloriously perfumed bushy, deciduous shrub which can grow to 4m tall. The open growth and multistems make this substantial plant lighter and more airy than its bulk on paper would suggest. In May, it positively explodes gold: carrying oodles of trumpeting trumpets in the yellowest yellow you can imagine. The blooms are glossy and ever so slightly creased (déshabillé) and with cinnamon-dusted anthers. Once these are finished, you’ll have handsome shiny leaves which go a good colour in the autumn.

While widely cultivated in western Europe (and for good reason) it has become naturalised across areas far outside of its homelands of southern Austria, the Balkans and southwest Asia. Indeed, the local community of Boštanj in Slovenia goes an extra step toward celebrating the blooms of this lovely Rhododendron. Since it’s so rare in Slovenia, and found growing only in a few spots along the banks of the Sava river, it has replaced the usual crown above the Boštanj coat of arms. High praise for this Aurelian lovely.

Good for screening and hedging (quite rare for something as pedestrian as a ‘hedge’ to give such a floriferous yellow bellow as this does) and has a lovely presence in an informal or cottage setting.

As it is part of the Ericaceae family it really is best in acid loam or sandy soil. Should definitely be moist but free draining. Place it in a spot which receives full sun to dappled shade. Now naturalised in wet heathland so please avoid any further garden escapes.


N.B. When clipping several plants with the same tool, have a bucket containing a 5% bleach solution and swish your blades around for 30 seconds between plants to sterilise them. This will help avoid the chance of cross contamination of disease.

As with all woody plants, plant high, exposing as much of the taper at the base of the trunk as possible. Allowing soil to accumulate round the base of a tree can be fatal. Keep very well-watered when first planted.


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