Cherry Cheesecake is a cultivar of the rhododendron plant. This hybrid variety is desirable for its compact, full form and large, attractive flowers. Like all rhododendrons, Cherry Cheesecake is cold-hardy and is relatively easy to care for if grown in the proper environment. Once established, the Cherry Cheesecake rhododendron will put on a spectacular flowering show in the spring.
Cherry Cheesecake is an improved hybrid of two other rhododendron cultivars: Hachmann's Diadem and Holger. The original hybrid was named Hachmann's Charmant, but it was leggy and sprawling. Brigg's Nursery in Washington State doubled the chromosomes in the plant, according to Rare Find Nursery, and Cherry Cheesecake was born: A bushier form with deeper green leaves, but the with the same showy, distinctive flowers.
Cherry Cheesecake is one of the smaller rhododendrons, reaching a maximum height of only 5 to 6 feet, with an equally wide spread. The flowers are creamy white, edged in pink, with darker, irregular splotches of maroon. The stems are short, sturdy and thick, and the leaves are a rich, dark green. The bush grows in a pleasing mounded shape.
Most rhododendrons thrive in mild, humid climates, according to Clemson University, and Cherry Cheesecake is no exception. This shrub grows best in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 7, where winters are cool and wet, and summers are mildly warm.
In the wild, rhododendrons grow in moist, acidic, cool soil, rich with decaying matter. These plants thrive in the shade of coniferous and deciduous trees. Keep the soil around Cherry Cheesecake damp to the touch, but not overly wet. Too much water can cause the shallow roots of this shrub to develop root rot, a fungal disease. Optimum soil pH is between 4.5 and 6.0. These plants need protection from the hot, direct rays of the afternoon sun, according to Ohio State University, so locate your plant where it will be shaded during the second part of the day.
Rhododendrons in general are fairly hardy, but they can suffer from some common plant problems such as iron deficiency, insect pests and root rot, according to Ohio State University. Plant that are exposed to drying winter winds can suffer from winter injury, which can be prevented by locating the shrub in a protected area. The black vine weevil loves to munch on the tender leaves of the plant. Choose an insecticide that is made for use on rhododendrons, and kill the adults as soon as you notice them. Root rot can be avoided by planting the shrub in very well-draining soil and making sure the area does not collect standing water or is prone to flooding.
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