What is YOUR favorite rhody?

tigerlily46514March 29, 2009

Just found this website, novice gardner and i am about to get my first rhodies! There are so many colors/styles, and it sounds like i've found a bunch of rhody experts here! What is YOUR favorite rhody and why?

Also, any tips you wished you'd known when planting your first rhody?

THANKS! Jean in zone 5.

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mainegrower(Z5b ME)

If you're in a part of Z5 where winter temperatures regularly go below -10, hardiness and general toughness are very important qualities. Over the years I'd say the David Leach hybrid 'Crete' has been the toughest variety I grow. Always looks great in the spring no matter what the winter weather has brought, reliably full bloom year in and year out, nicely indumented leaves.

Most of the Leach hybrids are excellent in Z5 climates as are the newer varieties coming from the U of CT. Lots of color choices and this is largely personal taste.

Most important tips: loosen the roots drastically in all pot grown rhododendrons. Don't dig a hole. Make a shallow depression and plant with at least a third to half of the root mass above the surface, then mulch with bark or other coarse material such as evergreen needles.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 5:35AM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

My personal favs are those with some foliage interest out of bloom, mainly Rhododendron yakushimanum with felty new growth, fuzzy leaf undersides.

But more important than that is what is going to be successful in your zone with winters more harsh than my own. There is a list here of ARS Proven Performers that may help you with some choices, MidWest Chapter -

Here is a link that might be useful: Proven Performers

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 10:47AM
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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

Some unique varieties that are extremely hardy and do well in sun or shade:

PJM: small leaved and tough as nails.

Cunningham's White: will grown in a wide variety of soils.

Boule de Neige: beautiful plant when green and gets great nearly pure white flowers when it blooms.

Other iron clads that always bloom and always look good in partial shade or full sun include:

  1. Album Elegans, a pale purplish pink R. catawbiense hybrid or selection, 6 feet or taller.
  2. Nova Zembla, a bright red that grows to 4 to 6 feet.
  3. Catawbiense Album, a pinkish white R. catawbiense hybrid or selection, 6 feet or taller.
  4. Purpureum Elegans, a pinkish purple R. catawbiense hybrid; 4 to 6 feet.
  5. Purpureum Grandiflorum, a violet with green flecks R. catawbiense hybrid; 4 to 6 feet.
  6. Roseum Elegans, a lavender pink with green markings R. catawbiense hybrid, 6 feet or taller.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hybrid rhododendrons

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 3:37PM
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