arhs Yachts International
arhs Yachts International

Choosing a Variety

There are almost 1,000 rhododendron species in the wild and over 30,000 rhododendron hybrids. All of these are of varied hardiness from frost tender to tolerant of arctic conditions. It is very important to make sure the rhododendron you buy is suitable to your area. To buy a plant hardy in Halifax may not be the one for colder Moncton. One okay in Lunenburg may not be hardy ten miles inland. Consult the books, but more importantly, talk to an experienced grower in your area.

The above rhododendron selections range in size from 90 foot trees to ground-hugging mats with tiny leaves. It is important to determine the size in say 10-15 years. This will determine where you are going to plant your selection so that it develops properly and when it may have to be moved.

Related to size, it is also important to know if the plant is upright, spreading , flat-topped, dome shaped or prostrate as this too will determine the planting site.

Make sure you are getting the colour that you require. Some shades are impossible to describe and therefore it is difficult for the nurseryman to convey the colour exactly. Select a colour that complements your colour scheme. An orange azalea in front of a turquoise house just doesn’t work; a white rhododendron in front of a white house can’t be seen.

It is not generally known that in Nova Scotia we can have rhododendron varieties in bloom from late April until late July. Some may even re-bloom in the fall. Determine when you want yours to bloom so you can coordinate other plants in the scheme.

The hardiness zone is printed after each plant name.

Elepidotes (large leaf)
‘Bellefontaine’ 6
‘Calsap’ 5
‘Catawbiense Boursault’ 5
‘Francesca’ 5
‘Golden Gala’ 5
‘Janet Blair’ 6
‘Minas Grand PrĂ©’ 5
‘Roseum Elegans’ 5
‘Scintillation’ 6
R. degronianum ssp. yakushimanum ‘Mist Maiden’ 5

Lepidotes (small leaf)
‘April Rose’ 5
‘Bluenose’ 6
‘Dora Amateis’ 6
‘Ginny Gee’ 6
‘Manitau’ 5
‘Olga Mezzitt’ 5
‘Ramapo’ 5
PJM Group 5
R. keiskei ‘Yaku Fairy’ 5
R. minus Carolinianum Group 5

Deciduous azaleas
‘Cannon’s Double’ 5
‘Coccinea Speciosum’ 5
‘Gibraltar’ 5
‘Homebush’ 5
‘White Lights’ 4
R. canadense 4
R. luteum 6
R. molle ssp. Japonicum 5
R. schlippenbachii 6
R. vaseyi 5

Evergreen azaleas
‘Boudoir’ 6
‘Cascade’ (Glenn Dale) 6
‘Elsie Lee’ 5
‘Hino-red’ 6
R. poukhanense ‘Rosea’ 5
‘Rosebud’ (Gable) 6
‘Springtime’ (Gable) 6
‘Stewartstonian’ 6
‘Diamant Series’ e.g. ‘Diamant Purpur’ 6
R. kiusianum – all forms 5

Proven Performers district 12, reprinted in part from the ARS Journal , vol 57, Number 3, Summer 2003.