JARS v42n1 - Marking Your Rhododendrons

Marking Your Rhododendrons
Mark Konrad, M.D.
Sewickley, Pennsylvania

One of the most vexing problems relating to hybridizing is the difficulty of properly labeling and identifying plants throughout the process. As we all know, this is important for all plants, but becomes especially accentuated with the genus Rhododendron because of the many years needed to bring the plants to flower. Without accurate records, large segments of time can be lost which could negate or jeopardize the continued work into future generations.
With this in mind, I would like to describe a method which is both convenient and helpful in alleviating some of the above problems. For permanency, a paint coated metal marker label is used. This can be etched with a metal inscriber. The marker is then creased in three places so that it can be bent into a triangular shape for easy placement. (See photograph).

Labling plants
Metal inscriber and labels
Photo by Mark Konrad

For additional simplicity, a numbering system is used which starts over each year. Any new plant acquired is also assigned a number for each year. The letter "P" can be added to designate this. All pertinent information about each number is recorded in a notebook.
The marker should be attached to the plant or plants as soon as possible, preferably the first year. I have found this to be a simple, inexpensive method of plant labeling. It is reliable as the markers are seldom lost or removed.