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Rhododendron of the Year Plant Awards: 2023


South Central USA Region

R. 'Gomer Waterer'

Elepidote Rhododendron: 'Gomer Waterer'

Flower white flushed mauve-pink at the edges with yellow-brown flare in the upper lobe, openly funnel-shaped, about 3" across.  Held in dome-shaped truss of up to 24 flowers.  Blooms late midseason to late.  Leaves ovate to oblong-obovate, thick and leathery, about 4" long, re-curved, slightly glossy, deep green.  Spreading habit.  Heat resistant and sun tolerant.  Typical height: 6 ft. in 10 years.  Densely branched, rounded and upright plant habit.  Plant is cold hardy to -15F (-26C).  Hybridized by J. Waterer.

 
R. 'Checkmate'

Lepidote Rhododendron: 'Checkmate'

Flower strong purple to strong reddish purple, openly funnel-shaped, wavy edged, 1⅛" across.  Ball-shaped truss holds 15 flowers.  Blooms early midseason.  Leaves oblong, flat, acute apex, cuneate base, 2" long, bullate and semi-glossy above, with scales below, retained 3 years.  Dense plant habit.  Grows to a typical height of 2 ft. in 10 years.  Plant is hardy to 5F (-15C).  Hybridized at Weston Nurseries.

 
R. 'Festive'

Evergreen Azalea: 'Festive'

Flower white spotted, flecked and occasionally striped strong to vivid purplish red, openly funnel-shaped, single, 2" to 2" across.  Inflorescence 2-4 flowered.  Blooms early midseason.  Leaves elliptic, acute apex, cuneate base, "-¾" long, light green.  Upright, slightly spreading plant habit.  Grows to a height of about 6 ft. in 10 yrs.  Hardy to -5 F (-21 C).  Hybridized by Morrison.

 
R. 'Candy Lights'

Deciduous Azalea: 'Candy Lights'

Flower inside light purplish pink, outside tube vivid purplish red, tubular funnel-shaped, 2"-2⅜" across, strongly scented. Dome-shaped truss has 8-10 flowers.  Blooms midseason.  Leaves elliptic, broadly acute apex, cuneate base, flat margins; 2⅜"-2¾" long, semi-glossy, moderate olive green, with white hairs scattered on leaf above and on veins below, deciduous.  Grows to a typical height of 4-5 ft. in 10 years.  Upright, arching plant habit.  Bud hardy to -30F (-34C).  Hybridized at University of Minnesota.

Photos (top to bottom) courtesy of Monrovia Nursery, Harold Greer, Tijs Huisman, courtesy of U. Minnesota

Prior Years Selections for South Central USA Region

2022

2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004


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