|Betty Arrington bears bright pink flowers with darker pink markings near the margins. This is very tall growing, bushy evergreen shrub or small tree with large leaves, up to 7 inches long, which are a dull deep green on top and lighter green below. Huge trusses of 6 to 12 large, up to 3 inches wide, broad, funnel-shaped, fragrant flowers provide a spectacular display in mid-spring. Grows to 30 feet tall and spreads 8 feet wide.
There are between 500 and 900 species of evergreen and deciduous plants in the Rhododendron genus. Azaleas fall into this category. The evergreen rhododendron is characterized by medium to long, elliptical leaves and large, clustered, trusses of, late, showy, spring to early summer flowers, ranging in colors from red, pink, white, lavenders, purples and even yellow and orange. Form maybe low and mounding to gangly and almost tree-like with age.
All rhododendrons love well-drained, acid soil and should be planted high, preferably on raised beds. Partial shade is preferable too, though many plants grow quite well in full sun in cooler, more forgiving climates. In general, the evergreen rhododendron tends to do better in cooler areas of zone 7 and lower, thriving in the Appalachian Mountains and the Pacific Northwest.
This rhododondron was developed by Charles O. Dexter in Sandwich, Massachusetts, and should actually be classified as a 'Dexter' hybrid. However, it is most commonly sold as a 'Fortunei' hybrid, because of the very close resemblance, so this is how it is being classified here. Along with R. fortunei, Mr. Dexter also used the following species for his hybrids: Rhododendron decorum, Rhododendron discolor, Rhododendron griersonianum, and Rhododendron haematodes.