Rhododendron Species, Wild, Rosebay Rhododendron, Great White Laurel

Rhododendron maximum

Family: Ericaceae (er-ek-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Rhododendron (roh-do-DEN-dron) (Info)
Species: maximum (MAKS-ih-mum) (Info)
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10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

20-30 ft. (6-9 m)


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:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:


Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are fragrant

Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


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

Quitzdorf Am See,

Pelham, Alabama

Winterthur, Delaware

Helen, Georgia

Slade, Kentucky

Oakland, Maryland

Halifax, Massachusetts

Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

Emporium, Pennsylvania

Greencastle, Pennsylvania

Lititz, Pennsylvania

West Chester, Pennsylvania

Christiana, Tennessee

Blacksburg, Virginia

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Gardeners' Notes:


On May 12, 2015, Sequoiadendron4 from Lititz, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

I planted mine in spring of '11 and it has grown about 2' since. A second one was planted 6' away a year later and suffered death likely due to phytophthora. The blooms aren't as showy as other rhodi's but they do bloom in late June, which is a plus. My plant is in full shade. One of the main stems is dying on mine, perhaps it needs some more acid in the soil. In it's defense, it's in an unsheltered area on the NW corner of our house. Not the best environment for a rhodi but it does alright. The stems of the new growth are sticky and often trap small insects.


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.


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.


On Aug 12, 2008, passiflora_pink from Central, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:

Will bloom in partial shade.