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Rhododendron ‘PJM Compacta’

One of the most popular Rhododendrons is ‘PJM,’ and this compact version is even better, with larger blooms, more substantial foliage substance and shape, and terrific floriferousness.

Cold-hardy to -25 degrees F, it’s also a fine choice for the north, where many Rhodies are not happy. If you are looking for an early-blooming, absolutely foolproof Rhododendron, ‘PJM Compacta’ is the one for you!

‘PJM Compacta’ arises from the work of Rhododendron breeder P.J. Mezitt, who contributed much to the beauty of the garden. The original ‘PJM’ was introduced in the 1940s, and was a breakthrough in cold-hardiness. Developed in Massachusetts, it brought the beauty of this shrub farther north. This compact version is even better, it must be said, with its larger and more showy blooms and durable foliage, all in a very neat, rounded habit.

This shrub reaches only 3 to 4 feet high and wide, and nearly every inch is covered in rich, fragrant lavender-pink blooms from late winter into spring. Each flower is 2 to 3 inches long, and held in trusses about 4 inches across. The foliage is attractive long after bloom-time, with a thick, glossy, very pest-resistant substance that keeps it looking good even through the worst summer heat. In winter, it turns an attractive shade of mahogany.

Hardiness: Zones 4-8.