Fragrant Rhododendron full sun/ dappled shade

true_blue(Mtl Can Zone 4b)April 10, 2011


I was wondering if there are any fragrant rhododendrons, which can grow in the following spot:

Full sun from mid-fall to early spring; dappled shade from mid-spring to mid-fall, USDA zone 4, Montreal, Canada.

The dappled shade, created by two trees: a Manitoba maple and a cherry tree.



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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

The hardiest fragrant rhododendrons are:

Disca, -15F (
Wheatly, -15F (
Most Deciduous Azaleas -25F or colder, see below:

You are in a prime location to grow northern lights azaleas. They are deciduous but many are fragrant and all are very hardy.

Here are some hardy fragrant deciduous azaleas from (

'Colin Kendrick' - (Knap Hill) A delightfully fragrant azalea with a pale pink, hose-in-hose flower. What is a hose-in-hose flower you might ask? It is a flower within a flower, giving it a double appearance. The full flower truss appears like a beautiful rounded ball of soft cheery pink with a light touch of delicate yellow on the upper petal. What a lovely plant; one we can easily recommend!

'Daviesi' - (Ghent) Clusters of lovely cream flowers with a yellow flare on a May to June bloomer. Plant to about 4-6' in an open upright habit. Delightly fragrant.

'Fragrant Star' - (Briggs) (Early Midseason) Extremely fragrant, snowy white flowers top lovely blue foliage like stars in the sky. The Plant has a strong, upright habit and is very heat tolerant. A must have! FRAGRANT

'Golden Lights' - (Northern Lights) This is another very hardy addition to the popular Northern Lights series developed by the University of Minnesota. Hardy to -40F, this fragrant yellow azalea glows as it perfumes the garden when in bloom. FRAGRANT

'Irene Koster' - (Ghent, R. occidentale hybrid) Beautiful, later blooming, light rose-pink flowers have a showy yellow-gold flare on the upper petals. The buds are especially attractive with stripes of pink that run their length, providing contrast to the open flowers. Growth habit is a little broader and less tall than many deciduous azaleas. But the best part is a very sweet scent! Wow! FRAGRANT

'Jolie Madame' - (R. viscosum) A recent introduction imported from Holland. A hybrid of (R. viscosum x 'Koster's Brilliant Red') x 'Satan'. Large, deep fuchsia pink, fragrant flowers will sweetly scent your garden. You are sure to enjoy this strong growing floriferous plant. WOW, what a sensation!

'Klondyke' - (Exbury) (Early Midseason) Buds are a vivid orange and yellow and burst open to brilliant, golden-yellow flowers. The color is unlike any other. And the new foliage is a scintillating bronze. FRAGRANT

'Lollipop' - (Weston) This lovely azalea has a distinctive fragrant pink bloom with a daring yellow flare that turns an attractive silvery pink as it ages. FRAGRANT

'Mandarin Lights' - (R. calendulaceum x 'Orangeade') The ball trusses of 'Mandarin Lights' are loaded with ruffled red-orange blossoms sporting a darker orange vein. A strong orange blotch on the upper lobe intensifies the fire. Blossoms appear in late May or early June on this upright, mounding plant. FRAGRANT

'Millenium' - (Weston) An excellent choice for those who want their deciduous azaleas not quite so intense. The dusty-red flowers set against blue green foliage will blend readily in the landscape. It's very late flowering and mildew resistant. FRAGRANT

'Mount Saint Helens' - (Girard, Exbury type) Large, rose-pink trusses erupt from deep rose buds. Once open, the flowers display upper petals with large yellow-orange flares that gradually deepen to bright red-orange. The flower has a tricolor appearance that is very showy. FRAGRANT

'My Mary' - (Beasley) A beautiful plant, rounded in shape and crowned in late April with light brilliant yellow 2.5" flowers. It's a fragrant offspring of 'Nacooche' x R. austrinum, a stoloniferous azalea which produces stems that grow horizontally along the ground.

'Parade' - (Weston, cumberlandense x viscosum) Deep pink, 1.5" trumpet blooms on this robust plant burst into view in July, emitting a soft, sweet fragrance. Very hardy and very tall. It can reach heights of up to 8'. You can just see it breaking into song in the back row! FRAGRANT

'Pink and Sweet' - (Weston) A very hardy, semidouble selection that has fragrant, purple-pink flowers with a golden flare in the throat. This one blooms in June-July, a great bloomer to extend the flowering season. FRAGRANT

'Rosy Lights' - (Northern Lights) Dark rosy pink blossoms completely cover this grand azalea. It's hardy to -40F and no matter how cool the weather, this beauty will always come through with a tremendous display in the spring. FRAGRANT

'Washington State Centennial' - (Mossman) Selected by the Washington State Centennial Commission to honor the state of Washington's one hundred years of statehood. The flowers open a light orange-yellow, gradually softening to white with a blotch of vivid glowing yellow on the upper petal. The frilled petals and fragrant flowers fill the garden with charm and sweetness each spring. The leaves are very shiny and resistant to mildew. An azalea truly worthy of its place of honor. FRAGRANT.

'Weston's Lemon Drop' - (Weston) Syn. 'Lemon Drop'. A summer flowering deciduous Azalea. Soft pink buds open to fragrant, yellow blossoms in July. Glossy green leaves turn a dark, wine-red color in fall. Grows 4' x 4' wide.

'White Lights' - (Northern Lights) Don't complain about living in too harsh a climate because here is an azalea that will make you the envy of your neighbors. And, it can be grown practically anywhere! This is one of a series of azaleas developed by the University of Minnesota for hardiness. Not only is the plant hardy to -50F, but the bud is hardy to -55F. Need more!? It's fragrant too. Of course, the flower is white with a slender band of gold running up the center petal. FRAGRANT

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 6:48PM
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true_blue(Mtl Can Zone 4b)

Thanks Rhodyman,

Thank you for such a complete list.
They contain some of my favorites (Mandarin lights, Rosy lights and Lollipop).
I assume I can add these too:
Apricot surprise
Cannon's double
Lemon lights.
However my concern is about the exposure.
From mid May till Halloween it will be in bright shade.(maybe 30 minutes direct sunlight at sunset)
Will it not interfere with the plants flowering capability?
It will receive full sun, say from Halloween till mid may. But does that really count? The plant is dormant?
Basically, I want to narrow my choices to those plants happier in this kind of exposure.


    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 9:19PM
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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

They are good deciduous azaleas:

Apricot Surprise -35F, spicy scented (Northern Lights)

Cannon's Double -25F, slightly fragrant

Lemon Lights -40F, good aroma (Northern Lights)

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 10:26AM
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true_blue(Mtl Can Zone 4b)

Hi Rhodyman,
I'm sorry if my question was not clear.

Can any of the rhododendrons in the list below thrive in bright shade exposure?

Rhododendron apricot surprise
Rhododendron cannon's double
Rhododendron golden lights
Rhododendron lemon lights
Rhododendron lollipop
Rhododendron mandarin lights
Rhododendrons white lights
Northern hi lights
Rhododendron pink and sweet
Rhododendron rosy lights

Thanks again,


    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 1:51PM
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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

I don't know anything about Apricot Surprise.

The others should do very well in your situation.

You are right, the critical period in setting buds in mid summer.

Bright shade with some direct sun late in the day is good.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 3:58PM
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true_blue(Mtl Can Zone 4b)

Thanks, now I can shop at ease :)

Have a flower full spring


    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 8:44PM
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'Else Frye' and Fragrantissimum are both early very fragrant varieties. Any of the deciduous Occidentale azaleas are fragrant and have EM blooming times (now.)

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 11:22AM
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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

The original request is from Zone 4, Montreal, Canada.

Else Frye and Fragrantissimum are extremely tender (+15F) and

Also, I don't think anyone on the East Coast has been able to grow Occidentale even in temperate areas.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 11:43PM
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