Vireya Growing Guide

Vireya Blaze Of Glory

Vireya's are known as the Tropical Rhododendron and bring a stunning burst of colour to your garden, or outdoor living space.

They grow fantastically well in the warmer regions of Australia and will tolerate not just cold Winters, but also warm Summers, making them a versatile and hardy plant.

Originally, they're found in the South Pacific from areas surrounding Indonesia, Borneo and Malaysia.


There's a huge selection of flower colours ranging from pale creams and crisp whites, to brilliant oranges, shocking pinks, and deep reds.

The flowers appear in large clusters of trumpet shaped blooms, and are produced throughout the year, but most prolifically during Autumn and Spring.

Some varieties produce flowers that are highly fragrant, white others while being equally stunning, have no fragrance.


Vireya's have a delicate root system that can be damaged, so always be gentle and take extra care when planting them to avoid too much disruption.

You'll need to re-pot your Vireya gradually into larger pot sizes, and only pot up as necessary.  We recommend about a 50 mm increase in pot size each season.


These shrubs do well in large tubs, or pots as well as planted directly into the garden.

They like a brightly lit position, but do need some shelter from harsh afternoon sun during the warmer months and strong winds.  Some of the larger varieties do require more shade, so always check the Plant Label that comes with yours to be sure you've found the perfect spot.


Vireya's like a moist, well draining soil or potting mix.  If you're planting straight into the ground, make sure you cultivate the area thoroughly before planting to allow the roots to spread out.  They also prefer an acidic soil, so avoid using any products that contain lime.

Give your Vireya a good watering when it's been potted up, or planted to help it settle in.  After that, regular watering is recommended, but try not to over do it.


Mulching will help your plant retain moisture and will also help protect from the cold and frost.

A slow release fertiliser, blood and bone, or a soluble fertiliser at half the recommended rate will help your plant thrive year round.

When flowers start to die off, we recommend you carry our a light prune to encourage new growth and maintain a neat shape.

Problem Solving

There may come a time when your Vireya isn't looking it's best.  This could be for a number of reason which we'll explain below.

Mealy Bugs can distort and stunt new growth on your plant.  If they become an issue, they can be treated with White Oil.

Azalea Lace Bugs can discolour older leaves and leave small white dots on the foliage.  The Lace Bugs will be visible on the underside of the leaves.  We recommend using a product called Confidor for treatment.

Pale new growth can be a sign of iron or magnesium deficiency.  To correct this, you can use FE Chelates (Iron Chelate) and MgS04 (Magnesium Sulphate).

Any Acid Toner that is recommended for Azalea's will also be suitable for Vireya's.

More Information

If you still have questions or concerns, you can always get in contact with our knowledgeable team who will be more than happy to give you a few pointers.

Here's some of our varieties.

12 thoughts on “Vireya Growing Guide

    • Palmwood Tropicals says:

      Hi Lillian,

      You can buy our Tropical Rhododendron Vireya at Bunnings stores in QLD. We are sending out a number of 200mm pots into stores next week. We also grow 140mm pots. If there is a particular variety you are after you could request a customer order in store. Hope this helps!!

  1. Felicity Adams says:

    Your Vireyas are so beautiful. Do they grow ok in Cairns please? Some people say it is too hot and wet for them here. I would love to have some in the garden.
    With thanks in advance

    • Palmwood Tropicals says:

      Hi Felicity,

      Vireya Rhododendron’s are tropical and like high humidity, although they would likely do better in the highlands, like in Kuranda, they still will grow in Cairns. The Cairn’s Botanical Gardens have just started their own Vireya section in their gardens last week, so if they feel confident I would too. They do like air movement and part shade/sun. Hope this helps!!

  2. pat Worton says:

    I would like to buy a small vireya (if there is such a thing) To grow in pot. when will your next order go to Bunnings. Been looking there but they only have a few.

    • Palmwood Tropicals says:

      Hi Pat,

      Our 140mm Vireya are a bit limited at the moment but you can head into your local Bunnings store and request a customer order for them. If there are any particular varieties you are after they can put this in the notes section for us and we will supply them to you if they are available.

      Our next lot of Vireya 140mm will be ready in about 6-8 weeks and will have a lot more options ready to go into stores then.

      Hope this helps 😊

  3. kate Campbell says:

    My Vireya, Coral Seas has some brown patches on the leaves. I have it in a pot, it had a flower on it which did not open fully. It is in quite a small pot, indoors, in a south facing window and is quite leggy at the moment. We have had quite a cold winter here. I live in South Australia. Just wondering if I should wait until Spring until I repot it? Please advise

    • Palmwood Tropicals says:

      Hi Kate,

      Brown spots on the leaves can be from multiple reasons. It may be overwatering, coldburn, disease or lack of airflow (they need a little breeze). They are not really suited to being an indoor plant due to lack of airflow but it will be okay to leave it inside throughout this winter. The flower likely did not open due to the cold as the bud can be damaged by frost or very low temperatures. Our horticulurist advises to repot in Spring once it warms up, keep them in a warm (humid) but shady area outside if possible and do not overwater. Hope this helps 🙂

  4. Penny O. says:

    My Vireya has been doing very well in a large pot, flowering almost continually for the last couple of years but has just been attacked by the azalea lace bug. I have treated it but am wondering if it is time to repot and prune it. It is about 2 metres tall and a bit leggy. How far could I cut it back and would it be okay to do it now, I live in Brisbane. Would it be too much to repot and prune at the same time?
    Thank you

    • Palmwood Tropicals says:

      Hi Penny,

      Yes, you can repot and prune now, at the same time 🙂 Our horticulturist recommends to only cut one major branch back at a time and wait for it to reshoot before pruning the next (e.g. if it has two main branches) and do not cut below the foliage/leaves to avoid plant death. Hope this helps!!

  5. Bill Parker says:

    Bought two pots from Bunnings. Can I put them into large pots (approx 200 litres potting mix ) straight away. Have studied your requirements for good growth. Thank you Bill

    • Palmwood Tropicals says:

      Hi Bill,

      Our horticulturist does not recommend planting into such large pots straight away. He likened it to throwing yourself in the middle of the ocean with nothing to hold onto! The Vireya like their roots compacted close together. Hope this helps 🙂

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