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Gardening in the Rainy Zone.
Rhododendron 'Cunningham's White'
Sunset zones: 4-6, 15-17.
USDA zones: 6-8.
Heat zones: 8-6.
Height: 7 feet (2.2 m).
Width: 7 feet (2.2 m).
May to June.
Funnel-shaped, white flowers with yellow to bronze-red marking its throat on loose trusses bearing 7-8 flowers. Buds are mauve color opening to white.
Elliptic, medium size, evergreen leaves.
Full sun to part shade.
Humus rich, well-drained, acidic soil.
Lightly prune for symmetry after the shrub has finished flowering, rarely needs pruning.
Rainy Side Notes
Rhododendron 'Cunningham's White' is a cross of R. caucasicum x ponticum var album. Rhododendron 'Cunningham's White' was an early hybrid introduced in 1830 by hybridizer George Cunningham. His hybrid may hold the record for the most propagated rhododendron ever. To this day it is still the best rootstock for grafted plants and used throughout the world for grafting rhododendrons. There are a many great hybrids with R. 'Cunningham's White' in their parentage. It's disease resistant, and in my Pacific Northwest garden, it is not plagued by root weevils, a problem others have. When the leaves are consistently looking ratty from the damage of weevils, I yank them out of my garden and replace with resistant varieties.
I am not sure I would have selected this one for my garden. Having inherited it with our home, we replanted it to a better position in the garden. Now I enjoy it as it gets more beautiful every year. Most of the year it provides a dark green backdrop for the other plants in the garden, and when it is in bloom I love to pick a truss bouquet for the house.
As with many rhododendrons, provide supplemental water during our drought season.
Photographed in author's garden.