Rosebay Rhododendron, also called Great Laurel, provides food and shelter for many kids of birds with warblers swarming over the flowers and foliage for insects. Ruffed grouse and wild turkeys eat the buds and leaves. It is browsed by white-tailed deer, primarily in fall and winter. Beavers browse twigs; small mammals, including the white-footed mouse and Allegheny wood rat, eat the leaves; and rabbits eat the bark, young wood, leaves, and buds. This plant is moderately resistant to damage from deer. It proves winter and extreme weather coverage. Hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees are attracted to its blooms.
Rosebay Rhododendron is poisonous to horses, causing labored breathing, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, and death
Rosebay Rhododendron provides valuable winter and escape cover for white-tailed deer, eastern cottontail, black bear, snowshoe hare, ruffed grouse, wild turkey, and many songbirds. Dense thickets of it provide den sites, daybeds, and escape cover for black bears
Rhododendrons are susceptible to many insect and disease problems. Poor drainage inevitably leads to root rot so raised plantings should be used in heavy clay soils. Rosebay Rhododendron does not like heat or humidity.
var. album – white flowers
var. purpureum – deep pink to purple flowers with green spotting.
var. roseum – reddish buds, pink flowers,12′ tall
‘Leachii’ – smaller leaves with deeply wavy margins, more compact, pinkish-white blooms.
‘Midsummer’ – pink blooms with a slightly gold throat.
‘Pride’s Pink’ – hardy, large pink blooms.
Rosebay Rhododendron – USDA
Rosebay Rhododendron – Missouri Botanical Garden
Rosebay Rhododendron – University of Connecticut Plant Database
Rosebay Rhododendron – North Carolina State Extension
Rosebay Rhododendron – USDA Forest Service
Recommended for Wildlife by
Gardening for the Birds by George Adams
Bringing Nature Home by Tallamy
Essential Native Trees and Shrubs for the Eastern United States by Dove & Woolridge