A ‘Scintillating’ Rhododendron

This week we step away from clematis – briefly – for those of you who are wondering if I grow anything else in my garden. The answer, of course, is yes – but some plants more successfully than others. One of my successes is Rhododendron ‘Scintillation.’ A hybrid developed by Charles Dexter, it has wonderful deep green, large leaves and beautiful ball-shaped flowers that open as deep pink streaked with white and turn a slightly lighter pink. Comme ca:

Rhododendron Scintillation, Dexter hybrid rhododendrons

‘Scintillation’ trusses in various stages of bloom.

Here in the DC area, mine usually bloom mid-May. I planted two against my deck, one each in 1998 and 1999. Don’t they look kind of sad in this first photo, photographed from a garden journal I kept back then (because my scanner seems to be on the blink):

Rhododendron Scintillation

My two ‘Scintillations’, way back when.

They are planted next to my deck, where they get morning sun only. Seven years later, they had matured quite a bit:

Rhododendron Scintillation

After seven years in the garden, the two Scintillations had grown nicely.

This year, they were over the top of the deck.

Rhododendron 'Scintillation'

Blooming in 2011

The only complaint – and it’s minor – is that in alternate years, for some reason I haven’t been able to fathom, they bloom relatively sparsely. The trade-off is fewer blooms to deadhead (sticky fingers are always the byproduct of this pastime).

I have to confess that this plant hasn’t always performed well in client gardens (true of most of the rhododendrons I’ve tried) – it often succumbs to phythopthora, especially in gardens with irrigation; and our temperatures here are not really conducive to rhodos (see my esteemed colleague Jane Berger’s recent post called “You Can’t Always Have What You Want” on her blog “Garden Design Online.”) But if you live in a climate where rhododendrons do well, give this ‘scintillating’ cultivar a try – you won’t be sorry.

Explore posts in the same categories: landscape, photography

Tags: , , , , ,

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

6 Comments on “A ‘Scintillating’ Rhododendron”

  1. carolyn mullet Says:

    Unless a client insists, I’ve stopped planting Rhododendron in client’s gardens because it’s so hard to establish without die back from phythopthora. Just too disappointing. My daughter lives in Oregon where Rhodo are stunning so I’m very aware what they add to a garden but I think our climate and soils make growing them well very difficult.


  2. Really nice flowers.. With perfectly trimmed and maintained…

  3. NANCYRUSSELL Says:

    MY SCINTILLATION RHODO WAS DOING WELL UNTIL 2 YEARS AGO WHEN IT PRODUCED A HUGE OF AMOUNT OF BUDS THAT I COULDN’T WAIT TO SEE IT IN BLOOM BUT ALMOST ALL OF THE BUDS NEVER OPENED. THIS HAPPENED 2 YEARS IN A ROW AND THIS YEAR (MARCH)IT IS TOTALLY COVERED IN BUDS BUT EXPECT TO SEE THE SAME THING AS IN THE 2 YEARS PAST. WHAT IS WRONG?

    • Melissa Says:

      Nancy, you didn’t say where you live or what the weather conditions may have been around bloom time. Sometimes last frosts can cause buds to “blast” and not unfurl. But I’m really not a plant health care expert. Sorry to hear you’ve been having problems with what is usually a wonderful rhododendron.

      • NANCYRUSSELL Says:

        THANKS FOR YOUR RESPONSE. I LIVE IN NEW HOPE, PA. IT HAD BEEN WELL FOR YEARS BUT SUDDENLY WHEN IT PRODUCED SUCH AN AMAZING AMOUNT OF BUDS I THOUGHT IT STRANGE AND EVER SINCE IT HAS PRODUCED THESE BUDS WHICH DON’T OPEN EXCEPT FOR VERY FEW. IT IS A CHORE TO DEAD HEAD ALL THESE DUD BUDS AND CAN’T HELP THINKING IT HAS TO DO WITH THIS ABNORMAL PRODUCTION OF BUDS. I DO NOT FERTILIZE OR CULTIVATE AROUND ITS ROOTS.


  4. Beautiful flowers, and amazing how they grow so large.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: