Just ordered a buch of Rhododendons. Now wondering if they will take the heat here?
Is Atlanta GA too hot for Rhododendrons?
I think they'd probably be alright as long as they only get morning sun--but afternoon sun would likely fry them.
Rhododendrons can thrive in Atlanta but they are a challenge. Ecrane is correct in saying that afternoon sun can fry them. The more sun they get, the more water they will need and although we finished last year with a lot of rain, the current dry pattern makes me nervious. It is important to plant the rhododendrons shallow and make sure the soil is very well drained. And keep them well mulched.
Great information Back40bean.
I will plant shallow and keep the soil well drained.
Azaleas do well here and I would have thought that some of the lepidote rhododendrons might also do well and might be for sale here but gee, try to find ANY non-azalea type of rhododendron here. Not many so, consider azaleas. Many (if not all) of the Encore Azaleas do very well here. During the worst part of the summer, they will sort-of go into hibernation and will not need as much water as usual. Just remember that they need protection from afternoon sun, 3-4" of mulch and very well-draining soil, which we usually do not have.
Amongst the "real" rhododendrons, some of the most heat resistants are -surprise- a group that was actually bred to be very cold hardy. They are called Iron Clads, crosses of rhododendrons that survived the winters at the Arnold Arboretum (Boston, MA). Some of them include Lee's Dark Purple, Roseum Elegans, Nova Zembla and Olga Mezitt. I am particularly fond of Olga Mezitt because of the fall color that I once saw on a trip to the NE in October a few years ago. But very very few nurseries (I do not want to say "no nurseries") bring "real" rhododendrons to this area regularly so, if interested be prepared to order by mail/Internet. I only saw one rhodie decades ago at Archie's Gardenland in Fort Worth so, azaleas is what you will find everywhere here. And technically, azaleas are rhododendrons. The best selections of azaleas are either at Calloways's and NorthHaven Gardens.
Luis, Thanks so much for thoughtful and informative post. I would like some tall rhododendrons/azaleas. I was just talking to someone at Calloway's who told me that they don't carry rhododendrons because they can't take our heat. I really wish encore had a very tall plant choice.