classification
Order Ericales
Family Ericaceae
Genus Rhododendron 
Species Rhododendron sinogrande

RHODODENDRON SINOGRANDE

Rhododendron sinogrande is a broadleaved, evergreen native to Southwestern China, Tibet and upper Myanmar. It is an understory tree (or large shrub) usually confined to coniferous forests in alpine regions. It was discovered and introduced to western science by renowned plant hunter George Forrest in 1931, but formally named and described by Scottish botanists Sir Isaac Bayley Balfour (1853 – 1922) and Sir William Wright Smith (1875 – 1956).

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It is noted for its huge, glossy, dark-green leaves which can grow to as much as 80 cm long and 30 cm wide. It is in fact the largest leaved Rhododendron in existence! The lower surface of the leaves have a silvery-grey or fawn indumentum (surface covering of hairs). The blooms are produced in huge trusses in April. The flowers are creamy-white with a crimson blotch. Under favourable conditions you can expect Rhododendron sinogrande to grow up to 15 metres tall.

Plant Rhododendron sinogrande in part shade to full shade as the leaves can scorch in full sun. It is best grown in acidic, humus-rich, moisture-retentive but well-drained soil. A pH of between 4.5 and 6.5 is ideal. Like most other rhododendrons, alkaline soils can be acidified using digging in plenty of ericaceous compost, moss-peat or other such product prior to planting. Acidifying products will need to be re-applied on an annual basis. Provide an acidic mulch in the spring, such as pine needles or composted bark. Be aware that Rhododendron sinogrande has a shallow, fibrous root system, so cultivate other plants species beyond the expected canopy of the mature specimen.

Rhododendron sinogrande received the Award of Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in 1922 and the First Class Certificate in 1926.

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RHODODENDRON SINOGRANDE

About the Author

The 'Seeds of Eaden' website is the brainchild of professional horticulturist and multi-award winning gardener Simon Eade. After six years of study; two years 'Retail Horticulture' at Hadlow College, then four years Commercial Horticulture at Greenwich University, Simon has worked in a number of 'fields' within the industry for over twenty years. Most notably, managing the prestigious Alexandra Palace garden centre in London. Since then he has become an internationally published writer, and author of the popular 'Garden of Eaden' blog.

Simon Eade is also a recipient of the Royal Horticultural Society's Banksian medal

You can contact the 'Seeds of Eaden' at gardenofeaden@gmail.com