Enormous trusses of up to 30 sizeable bell-shaped flowers, spotted with bright crimson blotches inside, open canary-yellow before slowly fading to creamy-white. Worth growing for its architectural foliage alone, young silvery gray shoots, with bright red bud scales, slowly open and expand into the largest-leaves of any rhododendron on Earth, sometimes reaching 20 in. or 50 cm. long, and these have a wonderful thick woolly fawn indumentum on the underside. Along with R. Macabeanum this is probably the most impressive variety of the large leaf forms obtainable. Deservedly awarded the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit, it is native to alpine regions at 2,100–3,600 m (6,900–11,800 ft) in southeastern Xizang and western Yunnan in China and in northeastern Myanmar.
These seeds have already been cold-stored and should be sown on receipt onto a well-drained, peaty compost at any time of the year. The seeds should be just carefully watered in with no surface cover. The seed tray is best left in a cold or cool spot and kept moist, seeds often only germinating very slowly in cool conditions in the spring, regardless of when they are sown, although odd ones may come up at any time. Please be very patient. Plant out in peaty moist soil finally. Prepare a pot with a fine mixture of peat, sterile soil or loam and grit. Scatter or sprinkle the seed on to the surface of the pot an do not bury the seed under the soil as surface germination is entirely natural in the wild. Place the pot in another tray or saucer so that it will draw up the necessary water to the surface to enable the seed to germinate. Cover the top of the pot with a piece of glass or plastic to keep the compost moist and keep out pests. Keep the pot in a safe, cool place outside to allow natural temperature variations to induce the seed to come up. Do not use artificial heat! Germination usually takes 4-8 weeks or so although it can take much longer.
Classification:Hardy tree, Hardy shrub