Rhododendron P.J.M. Elite Star

Rhododendron 'P.J.M. Elite Star'

A Boldly Colored New Member of the PJM Family!

Item # 25844

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Any addition to the famous PJM group of Azaleas is exciting, but Elite Star absolutely dazzles! Discovered as a sport of 'PJM Elite' growing in a Canadian nursery, this brilliant new shrub demonstrates more intense bloom color, later flowering, denser branching, and exciting foliage changes with the seasons!

PJM Elite Star offers masses of brilliant dark purplish-red to violet blooms, a very unusual shade for Rhodies and highly prized! It begins flowering in early spring, about a week later than its parent (and most other Rhododendrons) Elite. The blooms last a bit longer in the season too, so PJM Elite Star may just be the last Azalea blooming in your spring garden!

This shrub is wonderfully dense, bringing you more branches and thus more blooms than most others. Compact at 5 to 6 feet high and wide, it makes the perfect foundation planting, low hedge, and border standout. Even one is impressive, but a row or circle of PJM Elite Stars is a wonder to behold!

The foliage is fascinating too. It turns a very dark green in summer, and in winter -- though it remains on the plant! -- it is reddish brown, almost making this 'evergreen' a deciduous shrub!

Treat PJM Elite Star as you would any other Rhododendron: acidic, enriched soil, no cultivation around the shrub (the roots are very shallow and do not like to be disturbed), and pruning (if any is needed, which is unlikely) done right after spring bloom, so the new buds have a chance to form. Easy-peasy!

Do you know the story of the PJM Group of Rhododendrons? Breeding began in the 1930s from nurseryman Peter J. Mezitt (hence the name PJM) and his son Edmund. To achieve better cold hardiness, these New England nurserymen crossed two species of Rhodies: R. carolinianum x R. dauricum var sempervirens. Not only were the resultant shrubs cold-hardier, they also were characterized by pink to purple flowers and foliage that flushed purple in cold weather. Compact, rounded, and usually evergreen, the PJMs are dependable favorites in all climates.