Rhododendron Praecox or Early Rhododendron
Early rhododendron is a cross between Rhododendron dauricum and Rhododendron ciliatum and resembles the deciduous azaleas in habit. It is a rather loose shrub barely 1m (3 ft) high. The wide, funnel-shaped, carmine-pink, up to 4cm (1½ in) across, appear in March to April (in warmer regions even as early as February), which is also reminiscent of the azaleas. It is most effective in large groups in the foreground alongside pathways, in the rock garden and combined with other evergreen shrubs. It requires a light to sunny location.
Evergreen rhododendrons tolerate full sun only in coastal regions. Most type species come from higher mountain areas where, as on the coast, the air is cooler and the atmospheric humidity high. Inland, where humidity is not sufficiently high, rhododendrons should be planted in shaded locations (northern, north-eastern or north-western aspects) or in a spot sheltered by other plants such as pines and also oaks; shallow-rooting trees like spruce are not recommended. Evergreen rhododendrons require nourishing, acidic and well-aerated; the great majority do not tolerate lime.