Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Rosebay Rhododendron, Great Laurel
Rhododendron maximum

Family: Ericaceae (er-ek-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Rhododendron (roh-do-DEN-dron) (Info)
Species: maximum (MAKS-ih-mum) (Info)

Synonym:Rhododendron ashleyi

» View all varieties of Azaleas and Rhododendrons

6 members have or want this plant for trade.



10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Light Shade

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer


Other details:
Flowers are fragrant
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Patent Information:

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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3 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Rickwebb On Dec 27, 2013, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

Rosebay Rhododendron is occasionally sold in many larger nurseries in southeast Pennsylvania and some native plant nurseries. I have occassionally seen it wild among the woods in the area. It does not grow well just anywhere, even in the Mid-Atlantic. It likes a good quality, humusy, acid soil with part shade to full light shade. It does die out when planted in landscapes if it does not have its right conditions. If it is planted in a good location, it does well.

Positive Hikaro_Takayama On Jun 12, 2012, Hikaro_Takayama from Fayetteville, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

This plant is native to the Eastern US, and is found growing as an understory plant in oak and hemlock forests... Any woods where the soil is acidic enough. Some older plants may become small trees (about 13 ft high).

Rosebay Rhododendron is evergreen with typical glossy Rhododendron leaves. Flowing time is usually around the end of June to the middle of July, when the plants are covered with bunches of white, pink or red blossoms.

Positive passiflora_pink On Aug 12, 2008, passiflora_pink from Shelby County, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:

Will bloom in partial shade.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Quitzdorf Am See,
Pelham, Alabama
Winterthur, Delaware
Helen, Georgia
Slade, Kentucky
Oakland, Maryland
Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
Emporium, Pennsylvania
Greencastle, Pennsylvania
West Chester, Pennsylvania
Christiana, Tennessee
Blacksburg, Virginia

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