Imagine: Yes indeed. Imagine a plant that looks fantastic in the garden center when it’s fresh from the grower. But that plant is out for just one thing: to break your heart.
Normally I post a “I Love This Plant!” every Saturday. Today, I’m not in love. After eight years of heartbreak, I’m talking about the ‘Blue Baron’ honestly…a few days before I rip it out of my garden and toss it into the compost pile.
Name: Rhododendron ‘Blue Baron’ aka Rhododendron prettypathetica
Type of Plant: A blue flowering Rhododendron, said to be compact in habit. Wow! Why don’t we see this plant in every foundation planting? The flower color is amazing, and the photos we find online make the plant look like a low, full shrub filled with blue-purple flowers in the spring.
Why I hate this: The only time this plant will flower well for you is when it’s fresh from the nursery. So be sure to buy one that’s in bud not full bloom, so you can enjoy it in flower for at least three weeks. Even when it lives through the winter, it often doesn’t flower because in cold winters the buds get zapped. The foliage is often killed off as well, so that over time these plants get asymmetrical, thin and sad.
A Word to the Wise: If you don’t see a plant doing well in other people’s yards, yet it looks good in the nursery, you have to ask yourself why. “Why does this look great in the garden center every year but I never see it looking great in other’s gardens?”