Rhododendron arboreum 'Stonefield Best'

Rhododendron arboreum 'Stonefield Best'


in stock In stock

Flowering Month:
Flower Colour:
To -10 °C
Height After 10 Years:
Not Scented
Interesting Foliage:
3 litre
Available stock: 2
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5 litre
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12 litre
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(ARBOREA  H4)  'Stonefield Best' is recognised as one of the best red flowered clones of R. arboreum, and flowers in March- April. This particularly fine red was selected at Stonefield Castle on the West Coast of Scotland, and has excellent foliage with deep green leathery leaves, and a silvery sheen like indumentum on the undersides. Like all red arboreum, it is not as hardy as the pink or white clones, so some careful site selection is required.

R. arboreum is the National flower of Nepal that grows into a fine large tree. It makes a majestic plant that has the ability to re-grow from both the base and the trunk after a hard winter. Height 150cm in 10 years, eventually growing to around 15 metres tall after 100 years. R. arboreum holds the Guinness Record for World's Largest Rhododendron. 

Characteristically as with some species, this plant prefers woodland shelter and you will need to wait about six years before it starts to flower. We think the wait is worthwhile!

  • Recommended for wonderful foliage.
  • Easy to grow in mild areas.
  • Ideal position: sheltered woodland.
  • Habit: tree-like.
  • Group: Species Rhododendron.
  • Subsection: Arborea.
  • Introduction date: pre 1850 
  • Species distribution: Kashmir, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, Assam.
  • Approximate altitude: 1,200 to 3,350m.
  • Ideal soil: pH 4.5 to 6.
  • RHS Hardiness Rating: H4.
  • How we usually propagate this plant: Graft

The Basics

Ideal soil

Acidic soil, good organic content, pH 4.5-6.0. Inkarho range of rhododendrons will tolerate soils up to pH7.5

Sun or Shade

Light dappled shade is best for most varieties.


Refer to hardiness rating. Give young plants protection.

Site Selection

Avoid close to trees, roots, invasive weeds, walls, hot patios, dry banks and waterlogged soils. Do not use weed matting or stone mulch.

Plant spacing

Use the height shown in 10 years as a guide to the distance between each plant. Allow room for plant to fill out. If planting closer for instant impact, be prepared to move plants after a few years.


  • 3 litre pot, dig in 10-20 litres of ericaceous compost.
  • 7.5 litre pot, dig in 20-30 litres of ericaceous compost.
  • 70-80cm specimen, dig in 60 litres of ericaceous compost.
  • 100-120cm specimen, dig in 120 litres of ericaceous compost.

Planting depth

Plant high in the ground, with the top of the rootball visible.


Slow-release ericaceous feed recommended in March and straight after flowering.


Recommended every few years.


The key ingredient! Keep moist all season, especially the critical time at end of June for flower bud initiation. Tap water is better than no water. Heavy dose at least once per week in dry weather.


Ensure good drainage in winter, especially with yellow flowering varieties. Avoid waterlogged sites.


Rhododendrons and Camellias: Not normally required. Tidy wayward shoots after flowering.

Evergreen azaleas and Bloombux can be clipped into a low hedge.

Magnolias and Acers: Formative pruning when young to shape into a tree or bush.


Remove old flower-heads, particularly on young or weak plants.

For further advice see here

Size Guide

Size guide

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