Experience In Kansas

autumnmoon(6a/se ks)March 3, 2006

I am from SE Kansas and have a new obsession with Rhodies and azaleas. I would like to know if anyone on GW has any experience growing them in our hot dry summers and cold windy (well.. dry this year for sure) winters. We can get up to 105 in the summer and after july 1st its usually very dry, before that very very humid. Winter is usually (although not in the past few years) cold and very windy. My yard is mostly shade in varying degrees, and a bit of shade.

I managed to keep three encore azaleas through the winter, but we didn't have much of one. I DID have to water them, as we haven't had any precipitation to speak of since around SEPTEMBER.

I also have three girard's crimson azaleas, three formosas, three huge rhodies (i work at a nursery and got a good deal!), a huge roseum elegans, 4 ramapo (sp?) rhodies, and an olga metitz (sp?) rhodie, an aglo rhodie, and two other (cant think of the names) azaleas, and also two mtn laurels.

Any tips/suggestions would be great. I really love these and want them to be successful.

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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

You are doing very well. The encore azaleas come from around Mississippi and are not considered very winter hardy. I would expect Roseum Elegans and Ramapo to do well for you if properly taken care of (acid soil and some protection). Olga Mezitt is related to PJM, but is not as winter hardy and responds well to pruning. Weston's Aglo is also related to PJM and is very hardy and sun tolerant. Most of the PJMs and related plants should do very well for you.

A couple considerations in areas with climate extremes is to protect the plants from winter wind and sun. Also, try to protect the roots from high soil temperatures. This means that a good mulch and some shade is good.

The American Rhododendron Society has an Ozarks chapter that covers your area. They have a "Proven Performers List" that may interest you.

Here is a link that might be useful: ARS District 11 Proven Performers

    Bookmark   March 5, 2006 at 10:05AM
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autumnmoon(6a/se ks)

Thanks for the info Rhodyman.. I knew I'd get some good info from you! :D

The encores, I know are zone 7 plants. We can push that here. I work for a nursery doing landscaping and we plant alot of them and they do survive here, although some are hardier than others for us.

As for my conditions. I have mostly shade and where they are planted, very good soil and acidic. The encores are planted right up next to the house on the east side so that they are protected from the weather and get alot of leaf cover in the winter. I don't have any of them planted in the sunnier part of my yard because the sun here is very hot in the summer. I think I should have considered their mature sizes though, when I planted them because I am wondering about having to prune them away from the house once they get bigger. Since I have a fern bed just east of the house I have sprinklers there, and water often, so I think moisture won't be a problem (and the soil is nicely drained), but I am wondering if they might get TOO much shade, its pretty deep and dark there when the leaves finally get their leaves.

How am I doing so far? :D

Thanks again for your help Rhodyman!


    Bookmark   March 5, 2006 at 12:14PM
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ajer16(z5b MI)


Although I have no experience growing azaleas in Kansas, the extension publication below has some good winterhardiness test results for your baliwick.


Here is a link that might be useful: Azalea tests in Kansas

    Bookmark   March 5, 2006 at 5:52PM
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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

You are right about the shade. It can prevent blooming. You will have the most gorgeous green plants you ever saw. Some varieties will tolerate shade and some won't. One cure is to trim the lower branches off the trees. The goal is to get the source of the shade as high as possible so that it changes during the day.

Shade in winter, summer and fall is good, but in the spring when the plants are setting new buds is the problem. Oddly enough, that is when the sun is high over head (~May 20). So if there is a hole in the shade above the plants, then the effect will be minimized.

Of the plants on the ARS Ozark Chapter list, I would avoid putting Blue Peter and Gomer Waterer in shade because of their plant habit.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2006 at 9:50AM
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I live in NE Kansas. Any suggestion for Azaleas for the north side of my house which is in full shade?

    Bookmark   March 28, 2006 at 10:13PM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Ksemy, be aware that heavy shade causes weak, twiggy growth as well as reduced flower production. If you cannot improve the amount of sunlight that they would receive, I would suggest other types of plants on the north side of your house.

On the other hand, if you mean something like "bright shade" then you could try the ones mentioned above and in the links. In bright shade, the plants are always shaded but the sun strikes nearby and indirect sunlight lets them grow and flower nicely.

For example, I have some azaleas growing under the roof overhang on the north side of the house. They are always in shade but the sun begins to hit about 2-3 feet away from them so they get a lot of indirect bright sunlight. Works for them.

Good luck, Luis

    Bookmark   March 29, 2006 at 9:17PM
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autumnmoon(6a/se ks)

As spring has come on more, I have been watching how much sun my azaleas get in the mornings.. Right now since there are no leaves on the trees they are getting a good amount of sun.. as soon as everything greens up and leafs out, they will be fully shaded until fall. Rhodyman, do you think this is a good enough combo (all the trees are deciduous) to make them bloom? I did notice that there is a girard crimson that I planted last fall that bloomed from stress I assume when I planted it (in oct) and is getting ready to bloom again, so it had time to set buds... Does this sound like its a good enough environment to get them to set bloom? Think I should wait till next spring to see if they bloom before I consider moving them?

Thanks again for all your input!!


    Bookmark   April 14, 2006 at 11:07PM
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