Azalea vs rhododendron for LR garden

Darrell72223(7a)January 1, 2013

I've never grown rhododendrons, and I hear they can be finicky. I would like to plant two large varieties of Rhododendruns or azeleas in my back yard.

Should I go for it with the rhododendrons?? Are there secrets to growing them here? Janet Carson's website says to plant them in the fall if possible. Could I plant now if I can get my hands on some?

Thanks.

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helenh(z6 SW MO)

I love the Exbury azaleas because they are fragrant. It takes years for them to get big. I like them better than rhodendrons but I am in no way an expert on them. I can not grow the regular azaleas at all. My big ones are orange but I have some small ones in other colors. The secret to growing them is they need water and acid soil and I don't think they really like 110 degree weather. Mine only survive because water off a roof helps water them. There is a rhododendron society that probably has a webpage.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 4:24PM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

Scroll down to the Ozark region because heat is hard on these plants. People up north might grow some that you couldn't grow in Ark. The ones I have are deciduous azaleas. I think I may have Klondyke, Gibralter, and some of the ones with lights in the name. They are easier for me than the evergreen azaleas.

Here is a link that might be useful: plant list

    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 4:36PM
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Darrell72223(7a)

I've actually been looking at the Klondyke azelea! That looks awesome. It definitely seems that it's the summers that they don't like here. The area I will put them in is part shade, but one spot gets afternoon sun. That might be pretty rough. The area is irrigated well.

Maybe there's a reason I don't see many rhododendrons in my neighborhood!

    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 4:58PM
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pauln(z7B Arkansas)

Rodies are difficult here because they don't like the heat. They need perfect conditions and even with that, they might not last a long time. I can't believe so many big boxes keep selling them. Filtered morning sun, afternoon shade, deep rich acidic soil and good drainage are essential. Like others have said, there are some great native azaleas, but they can be difficult in the normal garden situation too. I've had decent luck with R. canescens (piedmont azalea), and for some reason am trying a R. austrinum (florida flame) this year. The two that naturally occur in AR are R. prinophylum (mountain azalea) and R. viscosum (swamp). Both are beautiful and highly fragrant, but pretty picky as to where they grow. Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 11:48AM
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