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Gardening in the Rainy Zone.
Rhododendron 'Dexter's Peppermint'
Sunset zones: 4-6,15-17.
USDA zones: 7-9.
Heat zones: 9-5.
Height: feet (4 m).
Width: 12 feet ( m).
April to May.
Trusses filled with pink, wavy margined flowers with greenish blotch.
Oblong, olive green, 4 1/2-inch long, 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
When 'Dexter's Peppermint' is bursting into bloom, you recognize it by its unmistakeably strong, sweet fragrance it emits then wanders about the garden, up to ten feet away. Now that's flower power! In May, trusses hold the large, attractive, light pink flowers with a light green blotch. Some people wax poetic about the peppermint scent; however, I think the aroma is too sweet and not earthy enough for a true minty smell. Judging by its cultivar name, I most likely stand alone with this opinion. No matter which way it's depicted, the potent fragrance is one of the shrub's finest features.
Charles O. Dexter bred many fine, fragrant rhododendrons at his Cape Cod home in Sandwich, Massachusetts. Although not a concern to us who live in mild climate areas, his breeding broadened the choices of cold tolerant rhododendrons in colder regions of the country.
I obtained the shrub from the Rhododendron Species Foundation in 1999. Established in a hidden area in my backyard for eight years, the upright shrub stands five feet tall with an open habit. When the familiar scent engulfs the garden, I know it's come into flower.
Photographed in author's garden.