Sick of Rhododendrons and azaleas? Looking for something for summer interest with an elegant habit to take the place of these obvious and often lumpy shrubs or even an elegant specimen for a tub in a semi-shaded aspect then you could do far worse than the extremely rare Craibiodendron from China.
It can eventually grow to a small tree but will take an awfully long time to get there so it will be fine in said tub or shaded garden bed and can be pruned in any case to fit its space.
Its mature leaves are a pleasant mid green not often seen in evergreens and its new growth is a soft coppery-pink shade. The shrub is arching and elegant and in mid summer it produces drooping sprays of soft green lily-of-the-valley style flowers somewhat like those of a Pieris but much later in the season. I have in fact seen quite a lot of pictures on the net of what is perported to be this plant that I’m almost sure are those of a Pieris.
Acid moist soil in a cool aspect is the go for this fine plant and I will promise that no one will be able to pin a name on it!