Name: Rhododendron ‘Olga Mezitt’
Type of Plant: Mounding but open-habit, evergreen shrub that’s hardy in Zones 4 to 8.
Why I Love/Hate this plant: We know and love the first Rhododendron to bloom in this area, the PJM. That plant, with lavender flowers, was named for Peter J Mezitt of Weston Nurseries where it was developed. Olga, a pink-flowering variety, was named for his wife. Olga Mezitt flowers after the PJM, and is the second rhody to come into bloom, in early May. Olga has pink flowers.
I love the size of this plant, the fact that it comes into flower after PJM finishes, and the rich, pink blooms. I love seeing the bumble bees working the blossoms, and I appreciate the dark green to burgundy leaf color in the winter.
A Word to the Wise: Don’t believe the various websites or plant tags that claim this is a short plant. Olga grows 6 feet high and 5 feet wide so place it accordingly! Plant it in full sun to part shade.