Rhododendron maximum (Great Laurel, Rosebay, Rosebay Rhododendron) is a species of flowering evergreen shrub native to eastern North America. It belongs to the Ericaceae family, which includes various plants such as azaleas and blueberries.
Great Laurel is a large shrub that can grow up to 6 to 15 feet (1.8 to 4.5 meters) in height. It has leathery, dark green leaves that are elliptical or lance-shaped. The leaves are typically larger compared to other rhododendron species, reaching lengths of 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 centimeters).
In late spring to early summer, Great Laurel produces showy clusters of pink to white flowers at the ends of its branches. The flowers have five petals and a tubular shape, attracting pollinators like bees and butterflies. The blooming period is relatively short, but the abundance of flowers creates a beautiful display.
After flowering, Great Laurel develops seed capsules that contain numerous small seeds. These capsules split open over time, releasing the seeds to propagate new plants. However, it's worth noting that propagating Rhododendron species from seed can be challenging, and many gardeners prefer to propagate through vegetative methods such as cuttings.
Great Laurel is commonly used in landscaping for its ornamental value. It thrives in partially shaded areas with acidic soil that is well-drained and rich in organic matter. The shrub is often utilized in woodland gardens, borders, or as a foundation planting. Its evergreen foliage provides year-round interest, and the attractive flowers add color and charm to the landscape.
Botanical Name : Rhododendron maximum
Common Name : Great Laurel, Rosebay, Rosebay Rhododendron
Height : 10 -20 ft
Spread : 5- 15 ft
Germination Info : Sow under glass
Hardiness zone : 3-7
Average seed per ounce : Approx. 250,000