Tour of Dexter's Hybrids
Rhododendron 'Dexter's Red Velvet' (Dexter)
Picture by Henk Borsje
Rhododendron 'Dexter's Red Velvet' is one of the deepest red Dexters. The good characteristics of this plant are the intense color of the flowers, and its willingness to set buds at an early age. Unfortunately, this eagerness sometimes results in the plant 'blooming its head off'. 'Dexter's Red Velvet' certainly has the reputation of being finicky. The blooming period is a bit early within the Dexter group, usually in the third or fourth week of May. The exact hardiness of 'Dexter's Red Velvet' is unknown, but it has never lost any buds in southeastern Massachusetts because of cold. An old Briarwood Gardens catalog rates its bud hardiness as -5F and -15F for the rest of the plant. Ultimate height is only 4 - 5 Feet in 10 years. The Patterson's Garden contains a large collection of Dexter hybrids. The Plants For Members Group propagates Dexter hybrids for distribution to Chapter members. Heritage Plantation in Sandwich Massachusetts is famous for its large collection of Dexter Rhododendrons. These gardens are open to the public for a small fee.