Plant name: Rhododendron ‘Landmark’
Virtues: Hardy to USDA Zone 5 or colder, an uncommon flower color in early May, blooms well even as a young plant, good winter foliage retention, and suitable as a specimen or background plant.
Flower color: Near-red, very heavy flowering, even as a small plant.
Leaf/Foliage: Green in spring and summer, turning bronze-mahogany in winter.
Goes great with: Dwarf and regular conifers, large-leaf rhododendrons and other broadleaf evergreens, yellow foliage plants, grasses and perennials, and other early rhododendrons. ‘Landmark’ also makes a strikingly distinctive hedge.
Habit: Fast growing, wide, and upright. Should be sheared to maintain form when young. Grows to 10 feet high and 6 feet wide in 15 years, if left alone. Tolerates pruning and shearing well, especially right after it finishes flowering in late May or June.
Season: Brilliant reddish flowers in early May, rich green shiny foliage all summer, glossy dark bronze-mahogany leaves all winter.
Suggested by: Wayne Mezzitt at Weston Nurseries.
Where does it come from: Hybridized by Ed and Wayne Mezitt in 1985 at Weston Nurseries in Hopkinton, MA. It is a cross with parentage including Rh ‘PJM’ and other more early Rhododendrons that are cold tolerant.
Tips: Tolerates light shade, but best in full sun, even windy, exposed locations. Needs acid soil, good drainage, and best in humusy soil with plenty of space to grow and be seen. Avoid planting in an area where water sits on the ground after rain, or in deep shade. Zones 5 to 9.