Sunday, May 10, 2009

Vireya Rhododendrons

Vireya Rhododendrons in flower now at Wollongong Botanic Gardens

The Vireya Rhododendrons are hybrids of tropical origin with parents R.macgregori which is from the Goroka highlands of Papua New Guinea, R. lochae from the Bellenden Ker mountains of far north Queensland and R. javanicum from Java. These species grow at altitudes of 1500m above sea level .Up in the clouds they grow as semi epiphytic plants on trees. In the garden, to replicate these conditions they need a cool shaded spot with very well drained soil . Incorporating orchid growing medium or growing them on a mound of bark/compost soil helps to get them off to a good start. As they are not normally very compact growers they look better when planted as a group of 5 or more but that said they are not cheap to buy and can be slow growing . Flower colour is normally in the warm range of red, yellow orange but pink and white forms are sometimes available. Some forms are low growing to about 1 metre but most will form large shrubs of open habit to 2.5metres.
2017 update: I do not have any for sale.

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