Name: Rhododendron ‘P.J.M.’
Type of Plant One of the hardiest Rhododendrons (Zones 4 to 8) and the earliest to bloom. This plant is also one of the most sun-tolerant rhodys and one that is nicely scaled to smaller yards and gardens.
Why I Love/Hate this plant: I love this plant not only for the early flowers, but because the leaves turn purple in the winter time. So early flowering, an easy plant to grow, and winter interest too!
A Word to the Wise: This shrub grows to about six feet tall and wide, so place it accordingly. Like all Rhododendrons it doesn’t do well in wet places so make sure your soil is well drained. And if you like a paler pink instead of the purple-pink flowers that the ‘P.J.M.’ has, look for ‘Olga Mezitt’ which is a similar plant that comes into flower about two weeks after the ‘P.J.M.’
Are there any smaller evergreen rhododendrons? 3ft by 3ft maybe? Or are they all typically 6ft?
Yes, there are smaller. Google “Yak” Rhododendrons, or Percy Wiseman.
Your pictures of your Rhodys are amazing! I really want to plant one now. I’m in Zone 6B so was thinking a cold hardy one like April Rose or PJM. I hear they can be quite fussy – maybe why I don’t see any in my area? My concern is the acidity of my soil – it’s clay-like and I don’t think it’s very acidic (my ES hydrangea is pink). Do you add anything to your soil to adjust the acidity level? Wondering what tricks work best, and if they work well. Thanks!
Have your soil tested for pH – if you need to lower it, you can use sulfur, and fertilize regularly with Holly-tone, an acidifying fertilizer.