You may recall that last year when I planted this Rhodo it was pretty late in the season. It was actually the last of the ‘Lee’s Dark Purple’ plants at the store. My first choice would have been ‘Nova Zembla’ but they were long gone so I figured it was a fairly close alternate. Umm. Yes and no. I won’t say I’m disappointed by this plant in any way, but seeing at work both ‘Nova Zembla’ (The red is stunning and the dark markings only make it better) and ‘Wojenar’s Purple’ (Same dark coloured buds as Lee’s, but the flowers stay dark when they open with the same dark spots as Nova) I can’t help but feel like given the option I would have gone with something else. That said I’ve brought myself around and find ‘Lee’s Dark Purple’ to be attractive in its own way when not being compared to some of the other options for darker flowered Rhododendrons.
The brown spots on the plants at work this year (which I was looking at before my own plant flowered) were a little bit muddier, here they are clearly spots on a purple background rather than on a muddy brown-purple background. It makes a bigger difference than you might think.