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Early flowering. Brilliant lavender-pink flowers cover the entire plant in late April when forsythia is in bloom. Small, rich green, aromatic foliage turns a vibrant dark mahogany winter color from October through April. Even though it seems to be a compact growing plant when young, it will attain a large stature with maturity if allowed to grow unsheared or in shade. A planting location in full sun and exposed to the elements is ideal.
Rh. 'PJM' is a "forgiving" plant that is easy for everyone to grow. It is the perfect welcome to spring in a landscape planting by itself or as a spectacular hedge or mass-planting. This is the very first plant Edmund Mezitt hybridized, and he named it for his father Peter J. Mezitt.
We are currently growing two clones selected from our original plants: 'Elite' and 'Regal'. While their characteristics differ from each other, most people find them nearly identical in the landscape. Unless you specify a particular clone, we will choose between them at our discretion. PP -- This cultivar or species has been selected as a "Proven Performer" by the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society and performs consistently well in USDA Zones 5 and 6 Massachusetts landscapes.
HERITAGE: This was Ed Mezitt's first attempt at hybridizing in 1939. These clones are selections made in the 1960s from the 1939 'PJM' grex (minus carolinianum Group x dauricum sempervirens Group). Rhododendrons prefer rich, humusy, acidic soil that drains well. Sandy or dry soil, as well as heavy clay, should be amended before planting by adding peat moss, peat humus, or compost. Mulch helps retain moisture, control weeds, and cool the soil. Because they are shallow-rooted, it is easy for them to dry out and, at the same time, drown if over-watered. Refer to our Watering Guidelines. The small-leaf varieties perform best in full sun and can tolerate winter winds. If the site is overly exposed and windy, a late fall application of an antidesiccant spray may help reduce any winter leaf damage. In dry years providing additional water in the fall will also help. Removing spent flowers promotes new growth. Pruning is rarely required but if necessary should be done immediately after flowering. Wait too long and you’ll inadvertently prune off the buds forming for the next year’s flowers. For more detailed information on rhododendron planting and care, please see our Gardening Guidelines.