"The sun has long been set,
The stars are out by twos & threes,
The little birds are piping yet
Among the bushes & the trees."
The parentage of 'Wojnar's Purple' is not known, though usually assumed to containe Rhododendron catawbiense or possibly R. ponticum or both.
It was bred before 1960 though not registered until 1990, when famed Connecticut hybridizer Dr. Gustav Melquist took select specimens to produce for the nursery trade, naming it for the original breeder.
The name is pronounced "Wo Nars," for the J is silent. It has slightly rolled four to seven-inch leaves on a compact spreading shrub only three to four feet tall in ten years.
The vivid reddish purple flowers occur in trusses of a dozen to twenty trumpets. Each trumpet has a darker purple-red blotch on the dorsal petal. Each petal is slightly pointed, unlike the rounded petals of 'Lee's Dark Purple,' & smooth-edged unlike the ruffly 'Purple Splendour.' It otherwise has much the same impact of 'Purple Splendour' but is a shorter & hardier ironclad.
It likes bright shade but can tolerate full sun with just a little protection during the hottest days of summer. It's cold-hardy to minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit, suited to zones 5 through 8.
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