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Rhododendron is a genus of 500 to 900 species and includes both of what we commonly call rhododendrons and azaleas. Most are evergreen but some are deciduous. They originate mostly from the Northern Hemisphere with high concentrations in western China, the Himalayas and Myanmar (Burma). They are grown for their showy spring flowers and in the case of evergreen types for their attractive winter foliage. True rhododendrons have 10 stamens in a flower and azaleas have only 5. Much hybridization has resulted in a great number of hybrid cultivars. Of note to gardeners in cool temperate areas are the large and small leaved evergreen rhododendrons and the evergreen and deciduous azaleas.

The evergreen rhododendrons produce large to small, linear leaves that are stiff and evergreen. They usually branch from a central trunk unlike the evergreen and deciduous azalea that are multi-stemmed from the ground. Large trusses of flowers are produced at the tips of branches followed by a flush of new leaves. Colors range from white to pink, red, and purple. Size can range from 1-2 feet to over 15 feet tall depending upon the cultivar.

Genus name comes from the Greek words rhodo meaning rose and dendronmeaning tree. Transferred from the Greek name for Nerium oleander.

Rhododendron (PJM Group) is a series of rhododendron hybrids resulting from crosses between Rhododendron carolinianum and Rhododendron dauricum var. sempervirens. These hybrids are vigorous, compact, rounded, small-leaved, broadleaf evergreen shrubs that are noted for having exceptional winter hardiness. The original hybridization work was started in the late 1930s to early 1940s by Massachusetts nurserymen Edmund Mezitt and this father, Peter J. Mezitt, whose initials are used for group and some cultivar names. ‘P.J.M. Elite’ was introduced around 1987. It typically grows to 5-6’ tall and as wide and features clusters of lavender-pink blooms in early April. Elliptic glossy dark green leaves (to 2.5” long) turn reddish purple in autumn.


Zone: 4-8

Height (mature): 5-6 ft.

Width (mature): 5-6 ft.

Bloom Time: March- April

Flower Color: Pink

Foliage Color: Green

Sun: Full sun to partial shade

Special: Rabbit resistant

PJM Rhododendron 'Elite'


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