Found in the higher elevations (to 14,000 feet), it has a wide range in Sichuan and Yunnan China with scattered populations in Gansu and Tibet. The smooth glossy leaf surface lends to its common name “Varnished Rhododendron). Ovate leaves are 10cm x 5cm. Scentless bell like flowers bloom in May. Its a tough species that can reach 8m in the wild and takes on an upright rounded form. It has yet to reach this size in cultivation and usually tops at 5m in height. Needs a better well drained site than most rhodos. Introduced by Wilson in 1904.
- Seed Count: 25-30
- Collection Date: Dec 2020
- Hardiness Zone: 5-9
- Height and Width: 8m x 8m (in wild)
- Habitat: dappled shade, humus rich very well draining acidic soils.
- Family: Ericaceae
How to germinate Rhododendron vernicosum seeds:
Rub peat moss through a 4mm screen to create fine lump free milled peat moss. Add 20/30 filter sand (10% content max) and greensand at 1 tbsp/gallon of medium). Moisten, blend well and fill pots/flats/WHT, tamp firm. Sprinkle seeds thinly on medium surface. Mist well. Give gentle warmth (20-25C). Lightly mist daily. Provide strong indirect light. Clear plastic cover helps maintain humidity and enhance germination /seedling survival by not letting medium desiccate. Seeds should germinate in 10 days. Never let seedlings nor medium dry out nor over water. Prick out when large enough to handle into individual pots and grow on. Shallow rooted. Be warned seedlings have very fine hair like roots and can damage easily. Have pots ready to receive when transplanting to avoid roots from drying out