May 6, 2022 | Love This!

Name:   Rhododendron ‘Calsap’

Type of Plant: A Rhododendron that was a cross between ‘Catalgla’ and ‘Sappho’ which produced a plant that’s hardy to Zone 5.

Why I Love This Plant:   Are you looking for a Rhododendron that doesn’t grow huge but has stunning flowers in late May? Look no further than ‘Calsap’ – this variety grows to around 5 or 6 feet tall and wide, with lavender buds that open to white flowers with a purple blotch on the upper petal.

A Word to the Wise: Rhododendrons grow best in well-drained soil that is watered deeply once a week in times of drought. Calsap’ thrives in part-shade or in the dappled sunlight under high trees. Mulch with an inch of bark mulch, pine needles or chopped leaves for the first few years to help the soil stay evenly moist but not wet.

Like all Rhododendrons, this one wants acidic soil.

On Cape Cod this Rhody flowers in late May…like clockwork!

Blotches on flowers often are there to form a clear “runway” for pollinators. The purple blotch is saying, “This way in…welcome!”

Plant this Rhododendron where can grow the height and width that the genetics tell it to be. It’s the perfect Rhody to place in the area between your yard and the woods, or in a mixed-shrub border in part shade. Don’t use this in a foundation planting where you need to keep the plants under 4 feet, or below windows. Appreciate the slightly asymmetrical form of the plant, and don’t prune this into a “green meatball.” 

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