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Beware Yellow Rhododendrons

Posted by livinez 6pa (My Page) on
Thu, Sep 23, 10 at 17:56

Some of the Northeast nurseries are selling R. hotei. If you have hot, humid, summers like I do, Philly area, I wouldn't waste time with anything that has R. hotei in its genes if I was looking for a rhodo for landscape purposes. I've been looking into some of the yellows, like Top Banana, Papaya Punch, Nancy Evans, a few others. These are all hotei hybrids. Lost papaya first season, top banana wilts a branch every month or so. I once tried three plants of hotei; lost all three in one season.
Have had better luck so far with My Jane, but this has less yellow than hotei and its hybrids. Nice huge truss though. However, I've had it for a few years and it seems to be losing, not gaining vigor. Never tried Capistrano, but have been told of problems.
This year I got Evening Glow: fortunei ssp discolor x Fabia Group. Unusual in that it blooms late. June here in Philly. Good yellow. No wilt this summer. Keeping my fingers crossed. Might be something to work with.
As for rhodos like Unique and Goldfort, great plants, but not really yellow. Sometimes when viewed though certain light they can give the perception of yellow; If that is enough for you, then you might want to get Unique before wasting time with any of the "true yellow" rhododendrons, or just just say the heck with it and get the decidous azalea Klondyke, a real head turner and easy to grow.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Beware Yellow Rhododendrons

If you go back to the parents of the hybrid Hotei, you find the species wardii, one of the few species with yellow flowers. Because of this color characteristic, wardii is present to a greater or lesser degree in a large number of yellow hybrids. Unfortunately, along with the yellow color, wardii has also contributed a high degree of susceptibility to a number of fungal root diseases. These diseases are much more of a problem in areas with high summer temperatures, especially soil temperatures, than in more moderate areas such as the UK, the PNW and New England costal areas.

Grafting is a much more common means of propagation in Europe than in the US, but if some of these yellow hybrids were grafted on to disease resistant root stock like Cunningham's White, they would very likely do well in areas where they are currently ungrowable.

For what it's worth, I've found Goldkrone and Capistrano (so far) to be very reliable true yellows in coastal Maine as long as winter temperatures do not go below -5.


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RE: Beware Yellow Rhododendrons

Hi mainegrower,

When I find a nice specimen of Capistrano I'll give it a try.


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RE: Beware Yellow Rhododendrons

Capistrano's sell well because they look so good in the garden centers, but they seldom do well very long. Here in SE Pennsylvania, Capistrano seems to be in a constant state of decline for just about everyone I have talked to that grows it. Hank Schannen of Rarefind Nursery in NJ agreed. It is beautiful and he sold it, but no one in our area had continued and consistent long term success. He called it "Crapistrano"

Many people are searching for that yellow that will succeed here. Gable's Mary Belle, an orange, is probably the best in the yellow/orange group.


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RE: Beware Yellow Rhododendrons

I have no doubt that rhodyman's comments regarding Capistrano are accurate for his area and that the same warnings should apply to the OP's Philadelphia area. Here in a cooler coastal Maine, however, Capistrano does not seem to exhibit the same problems. I have had no difficulties with my own in 5 years and the owner of one of northern New England's largest rhododendron nurseries has had no extreme problems with either his own plants or those he's sold to many customers.


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RE: Beware Yellow Rhododendrons

From Rare Find Nursery, re Capistrano: "For plant masochists only!! This has been a cranky grower for us, requiring excellent drainage."

Unfortunately, My Jane (I have three in different locations) is acting the same way in my garden, which was one of Hank's favorite yellows.

However, I AM a plant masochist, so will wind up getting Capistrano, especially if I see them at Ronny's Nursery Delaware again, $29 in 3 gallon containers.

I like what I see so far with evening glow, which blooms in June for me.



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RE: Beware Yellow Rhododendrons

Supposedly all yellow Rhododendrons require excellent drainage and cool roots to prevent phytopthora. There are some efforts to use R. hyperythrum to breed this trait out. I haven't heard of any successes yet.

The Europeans graft their yellows onto disease resistant stock and escape problems with phytopthora and other soil problems.


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RE: Beware Yellow Rhododendrons

About five years ago I purchased a B&B Mary Belle that looked like it had suffered from drought. Pretty beat up. Got it cheap, no guarantee. I had wanted Mary Belle since reading about it in Baldsiefen catalog in the late 70's, so I jumped at the chance. It has since become a 4x4 beautiful rhodo, outperforming itself year after year. To my eye I see some subtle yellow.
At this point, seeking yellow in my woodland, when I lose a yellow elepidote, I replace with either a deciduous azalea, or a lepidote; not going to bother too much anymore with the yellow elepidotes.
Once, during a golfcart trip to the late Hank Shannan's woodland, he picked out this yellow lepidote. It wasn't labeled and he said he wasn't sure what it was. I have since come to think it might be 'Hank's Mellow Yellow'
Really nice shade with a hint of green.
Photos are Mary Belle top (unfortunatly the only photo I have; doesn't show the color well), Hank’s Mellow Yellow? below (my beautiful Lenape next to it)

Photobucket

Photobucket


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RE: Beware Yellow Rhododendrons

I had Evening Glow. I planted it in a south facing bed. It suffered horribly from Lace Bug. I moved it to a north facing bed and the Lace Bug problem went away, but the plant didn't do well and eventually died. I never got more than a couple blooms. It is a pale yellow.

I saw the Ted Van Veen who had introduced this plant at his nursery in Portland, Oregon. I told him that unfortunately the only thing that was yellow was the leaves. It is a great West Coast plant but have yet to see any examples of it doing well on the East Coast.


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