Tropical rhododendron, Vireya
Photo - Linda Ross
Description: these rhododendrons are from Asia and the tropics, making them suitable for a range of climate zones in Australia. The tubular, fragrant flowers appear from autumn to spring. Flowers range from brilliant whites, some with an understated pink blush in the throat, through bright yellow and oranges to blood red.
Size: smaller varieties grow to 45cm and are suited to pots, while shrubby vireyas can get as tall as 180cm.
Cultivation: plant into well-drained soil but keep them moist. Leaf mulch will help to provide their preferred, acidic soil conditions. Prune when flowering is over.
Special comments: plan a trip to the National Rhododendron Gardens in Olinda, Victoria to see a range of vireyas in gorgeous bloom.