Plant of the month: June
Also Known As: Azalea
Native To: Manmade cultivar
Blooms: May to early June
Habitat: Best grown in partial shade in well-drained, but moisture retentive soil
Where is it Found At BBG: Azalea Walk
Currently, Rhododendron ‘Venetia’ is looking magnificent in the Azalea walk and filling the air with a wonderful aroma. This cultivar is just one of a number of different ones that are producing vibrant flowers right now. Rhododendron ‘Venetia’ has a bright peachy-orange flower and looks amazing against a clear blue sky.
Like all Rhododendrons they need an acid soil that is moisture retentive, but free-draining. To enjoy them at their best plant them in partial shade because the flowers will last longer. They can be planted in a sunny position, but the flowers will fade very quickly. If your soil is too dry then powdery mildew can strike as the plant will be stressed due to a lack of water.
This particular group of Rhododendrons are commonly called deciduous Azaleas, but they are in fact Rhododendrons. This variety does lose their leaves in the autumn but some cultivars also have beautiful autumn-coloured flowers.