While many Rhododendrons can’t handle swelteringly hot temperatures, the Southgate Splendor Rhododendron (Rhododendron ‘HOLDEN52’’) from the Southern Living Plant Collection can handle the dog days of summer! It features intense medium pink buds that open up to soft-pink blooms and medium pink freckles in spring. These flower clusters are long-lasting and sizeable. They simply refuse to be ignored!
The leaves are dark green, elongated and oval-shaped. They easily create dynamic texture and shape contrast in mixed garden beds. Furthermore, this foliage is very consistent and evergreen throughout the year.
It has a relatively slow growth rate, therefore, it’s remarkably low-maintenance over time. It’s very compact and manageable at its mature height of 4-5 feet tall and 4-5 feet wide.
We recommend using these reliable beauties as accents, casual hedges, foundation plantings, container plantings, and in shade gardens.
Southgate Splendor Rhododendron Care
- Hardy from USDA Zones 6-9, and much more heat tolerant than traditional Rhododendrons while still being just as effective in areas where this species normally thrives.
- Plant in Part Shade to Shade. 1-3 hours of direct sun or all-day filtered sun will produce the best results.
- Water your new plantings 2-3 times per week during the first growing season. They may require more or less water depending on the weather.
- Plant in slightly acidic soil with good drainage for best results.
- Fertilize with a slow-release acidic plant fertilizer in early spring.
How to Plant:
- First, determine your planting location based on the requirements listed above.
- Dig a hole 3x as wide as the root ball of your plant.
- The hole should only be so deep that your plant sits even with the ground around it. If you have poor drainage, try planting it so that it sits a few inches above the soil around it.
- Mix your native soil with some good quality garden soil or composted manure to enrich your planting location and encourage root growth.
- Compared to regular compost, composted manure doesn’t tend to raise soil pH as much.
- Backfill the hole with the soil mixture.
- Now is a good time to mulch and fertilize your plant. Use a slow-release acid-loving plant fertilizer. If you have less than 2-months before your first expected freeze of the year, use a rooting fertilizer.
- Mulch with 3-4 inches of bark mulch to help your plant retain moisture.
- Water your new planting deeply afterward and then 2-3 times per week for the rest of the growing season depending on the weather in your area (more frequently in extreme heat/drought, less often during wet weather).
Spacing Your Plants
For a seamless planting, plant them around 3 feet apart from plant center to plant center. Otherwise, space them over 5 feet apart for space between plants.
Popular Companion Plants for the Southgate Splendor Rhododendron
- Planting a shade garden? Try this variety with some other shade-tolerant selections, the Florida Sunshine Illicium, Soft Caress Mahonia, and Marvel Mahonia.
- Plant some around taller plants or trees that create shady spots underneath and next to themselves. The Empress of China Dogwood is one such variety.
- Try it with some other low-maintenance partial shade beauties with great texture, like the Yewtopia Plum Yew or Juliet Cleyera.