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Rhododendron section Vireya, Vireya Rhododendron

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Rhododendron 'Will Silent'
 Rhododendron section Vireya
Family: Ericaceae
Vireya Rhododendron
Large shrub 5-10 ftSmall shrub 2-5 ftFull sunSemi-shadeRegular waterModerate waterPink flowersWhite/off-white flowersYellow/orange flowersAttracts butterflies, hummingbirds

Remarkable group of rhododendrons. These Vireya rhododendrons (also called Malesians) are quite different from their large, spring-blooming cousins. Many Vireyas, with flowers in shades of red, orange, yellow, and white - often intensely fragrant - are small enough to fit in a tabletop pot. They flower heavily in winter, when their color and scent are most welcome, with repeat bloom several times each year.

You can grow Vireyas indoors anywhere, setting plants outside during frostfree months. Use a fast-draining potting medium. Or create your own mix by blending 1 part peat moss, 1 part ground bark, and 2 parts perlite. Put plants in terracotta containers that are relatively tall and barely wider than the rootballs (Vireyas grow best when they're slightly rootbound. Keep Vireyas in a bright spot indoors during the winter, and move them out into the light shade of a tall tree or covered patio during frost-free months (temperatures lower than 28F can injure or kill these plants). Vireyas like to dry out between waterings. Water by weight, at least at first. Pick up the pot and feel how much it weighs when the soil is nearly dry. Then drench the soil and pick it up again - it will be much heavier. This will give you a sense of how light the pot should be bofore you water again. Water more often when plants are blooming. Most plants will eventually grow at least 2ft tall in containers, increasing bloom as they mature. If they get leggy, occasionally pinch new growth tips to force branching.


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