Did you know that fall is the best time of the year for planting shrubs and trees? Yes sir, it is. Even though temperatures will soon be dropping, the underground temperatures remain warmer for quite some time giving newly planted shrubs and trees time to establish roots while not having to worry about growing leaves or battling hot temperatures. Then when spring rolls around the roots are strong and ready to start growing above ground. So take a look around your yard for spots where you’d like to add a little something, something and get digging.
My husband, Randy, is here today to share with you a shrub we found a few years ago that we’ve taken quite a liking to. As always, please share your favorites with us too. We like plants, and always enjoy learning and discovering new things.
Take it away Randy…
Check out our Redneck Rhododendron, also known as False Daphne, or its Latin name, Daphniphyllum macropodum. It’s by far my favorite plant right now in the yard. I have to think it earned it’s common name from the red stems on new growth, and not from a Jeff Foxworthy routine.
We bought it at a Clemson University/SC Botanical Garden semi-annual plant sale about 3 years ago. It was the only one there, so we snagged it. We’ve been back every year looking for more, but no luck. Finally, I asked a nice plant professor there a couple weeks ago where they were hiding the Redneck Rhododendron. He said they haven’t had any in years. He said they’d brought in a couple specimens to experiment with and only sold one. Lucky me. We are looking to purchase more so ours can have mates for us to enjoy both the male and female species. A quick search online will give you a few options if you’re interested too.
The Redneck Rhododendron is not very showy, just good solid evergreen foliage. It reminds me of the wild rhododendron that grow in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Rhododendron catawbiense. I think it has a woody, mountainy look, but it’s funny, I read somewhere online that it looks good in tropical-themed gardens. That’s what I call versatile.
Ours has been low-maintenance, hardy, and fast-growing. We have it on a southeast-facing wall. It likes part-shade to shade with well-drained soil. Growth can be upwards to 15′ tall and 8′ wide, and it’s supposed to be hardy in zones 7 and 8, and possibly in zone 6, if sheltered.
Another tidbit the professor shared with me is that there are only about 50 different plant species typically used in landscape gardens, but often a homeowner’s best choices are beyond those 50 common landscape plants. So keep yours eyes peeled for unique and good options for your planting zone. And if you find any Redneck Rhododendron, give me a holler.