RHODODENDRON 'Rocket'( Shammarello Hybrid)
Plant Common Name
Rhododendron, Rocket Rhododendron, Shammarello Rhododendron
A compact rhododendron, ‘Rocket’ is noted for large clusters of single, open funnel-shaped, very frilly blooms. The flowers are brilliant magenta with a dark scarlet blotch and appear mid-spring. The plants are upright, rounded and dense in habit. Large evergreen leaves are thick, glossy, dark green and tinged bronze when new.
Anthony Shammarello of Euclid, Ohio spent decades starting in the 1930s selecting and testing rhododendron hybrids. He was looking for plants with exceptional cold hardiness, a neat habit and characteristics which make them suitable for landscape use. By the 1960s, he released a series of large-leaf rhododendrons with blooms that spanned the season from early to late, are remarkably hardy and are compact to intermediate in size. Most are the results of a numbers of crossing and are complex hybrids.
The beautiful Shammarello rhododendrons are large-leaf types. They are also known as elepidote which means the leaves are without scales. The rounded shrubs are densely clothed in dark green, shiny foliage. The large leaves are elliptical to oval, held alternately on the stem, usually clustered towards the ends and slightly aromatic when crushed. An abundance of flower clusters (trusses) appear in the spring.
Rhododendrons prefer sites with partial shade and highly organic, acid soil that is evenly moist but well-drained. They are susceptible to a wide variety of fungal diseases and insect pests and will be more at risk if not provided with the correct growing conditions. Plant them shallowly and mulch well to conserve moisture and suppress weeds. They prefer locations with warm summers, cool winters and do require some winter cold for good growth. The flower buds develop in summer for the following spring’s display, so prune shortly after flowering, if necessary.
Consider a plant’s mature size when designing with Shammarello azaleas. They are best grown in shaded woodland gardens, containers, mixed borders, or as specimens.