The Rhododendron is justly classed among the noblest of shrubs, its laurel-like foliage, its massive habit and gorgeous trusses of flowers making it,when well grown, one of our favorite evergreens.
The Rhododendron prefers a shady situation and a moist atmosphere; it also likes a light sandy soil and plenty of water at the roots but abhors lime and alkali either in the soil or in the water.
Rhododendron Catawbiense and its varieties seem to do better than any other species in California, although some of the Himalayan species, where well protected, make good growth and flower freely, in some instances making three feet growth in a single season.
Rhododendron Californicum becomes a splendid specimen and should be seen more often. Rhododendron ponticum and its varieties are doing excellently where the conditions are favorable, as are also the many hybrids now being introduced.
The Rhododendron must be kept away from cold draughty situations and must have shade in the Summer season with plenty of water at the roots, - but no stagnant water.
Propagate by seeds sown in Spring. As the seeds are very minute they should be sown in pots or pans which should first be thoroughly well drained and filled with sandy peat; press the soil firm and smooth; soak thoroughly with water and, after sowing, press in the seeds and cover them lightly with silver-sand; place the pans in gentle heat and shade until the young seedlings appear when they should be given more air and light; when they are large enough to be handled, prick them off into pots and replace them in the same temperature until they take fresh root when they should be placed in a cold frame and given room as required.
Propagation may also be effected by planting cuttings of the . young wood, in August or September, in soil composed of half silver-sand and half leaf-mold in a shaded cold frame or under a tree sheltered from cold winds.