Anybody have experience with this yellow rhodie? I am really tempted to get it but have never even seen it except in pictures.
Capistrano is not nearly as strong a yellow as most catalog pictures show. I would call it a cream color - nice, but not yellow. I've found that it requires quite a bit of shade (true of most cream/yellows) and is quite slow growing. If your winter temperatures don't fall below -12 and/or you're willing to provide some extra protection, Goldkrone is the deepest yellow I've found growable here.
It's definitely not a dark or bright yellow, but I wouldn't call it a cream either. Buds are true yellow and flowers opens decent yellow slowly fading to butter(y) yellow:
Color will stand out better if somewhere nearby at the same time will be blooming bright red azalea or rhodie.
Contrary, anything white will wash it out.
It's indeed could take and probably even need quite a bid of shade. Mine is in dappled shade with no direct sun whatsoever and flower buds production is good.
I also wouldn't call it particularly slow growing.
Mine is about 30" tall after two years in a ground being planted as a 12" baby.
However, I see already that it wants to be leggy and next year I'll start judicial pruning to prevent this.
Hardy yellow rhododendrons are fairly unusual, especially in garden centers. Capistrano was introduced by David Leach and was introduced into the nursery trade with many other plants he introduced. When purchased in garden centers, it is a knockout, but in the garden it is plagued by many problems. I have never seen a good looking flower in a garden. They always look like:
I've been looking for one anywhere in my area. All garden centers here have never even heard of these. Is there a better and more easily purchased substitute that would have truer yellow blossoms?
Capistrano promouted as a yellowish of yellow types that are hardy for z6. You'll have a problem to find YELLOW for z5.
The hardiest yellows are:
ÂHong KongÂ (-20F)
They are all different. I haven't grown any of them.
The three Leach hybrids in rhodyman's list are described as yellow, but none of them really are. Casanova is cream with a yellowish blotch, Hindustan pale pink with the same sort of blotch and Hong Kong a cream color.
I haven't seen it, but Rarefind Nursery lists a brand new hybrid called Absolute Citron which is described as having a bright medium yellow flower and -15 or lower hardiness. Goldkrone, the excellent Hachmann yellow for Z5b and warmer, is involved in the parentage as are Janet Blair and Ice Cube - two hardy "good doers".
I've bought Hong Kong in buds 3 years ago and never seen any blooms ever since.
It was indeed very pale yellow/cream and nothing special to write home about. That is why I bought Capistrano which is much more (at least in opening stage) yellow than HK.