HELP! - need heat/sun tolerant rhodies/azaleas for zone 7!

Pasco, WA

My husband and I are rank beginners at landscaping, but we know that there are rhodie and azaleas that do okay in our area, so I wanted to make sure that when we increase our collection, we get something that will survive our winters AND summers.

The local nurseries have not inspired a lot of confidence regarding advice - at the advice of someone on Dave's Garden (regarding tulips), I went to several local nurseries and asked if there was a Master Gardener on staff, and all said no - in fact, one owner said "I don't like Master Gardeners - they tend to have strange ideas". That same owner could not tell the difference between a species tulip and a Darwin Hybrid, so I was not about to ask for advice on Rhodies!

Okay - back to Rhodies and Azaleas. We currently have one healthy true red rhodie - we inherited it when we bought our house, so we have no idea what kind it is. It is on the east side of the house, so it gets morning sun. We live in Pasco, WA which is hotter than blazes in the summer and has been known to reach -10F in the winter (though, not often). The weather is bone dry in the summer and +100 for at least two weeks - sometimes three. We average only 6" percipitation per year, but have ample irrigation water to supply. Our winter and spring is primarily where our precipitation comes in.

We would like to add a bunch of true red Rhodies along the east side of our house by our existing red one, but the only ones I can find that claim to be heat and sun tolerant are more of a hot pink/magenta color. Does anybody know of a true red one that would work in our area? It would also be good if it was low-growing (3-4 feet in 10 years or so).

Also, we want to add some azaleas in that same area - out away from the house a bit - in a contrasting color of some kind (white, yellow, blue?), but we were hoping to get away from the deciduous azaleas because they are so bare-looking during the winter. I have found reference to some on-line, but I am going nuts trying to track all this stuff down - I am just not sure enough about what I am doing. Same kind of growth habit.

If anyone has any recommedations for my red rhodies and blue/yellow/white evergreen azaleas, I would really appreciate it - you folks are awesome!!


Hurst, TX(Zone 7b)

There are no blue azaleas, at least there are no 'true' blue ones. But consider these evergreen whites: Hino White, Snow and White Rosebud. I am not aware of any evergreen yellows though; let's see if someone else chimes in about that.

Caldwell, NJ(Zone 6a)

I know of no rhododendron which really LIKES heat, however In the East we get similiar hot Summers and cold Winters and have the Dexter hybrids which have R fortunei in them and are somewhat tolerent of heat. The best Reds of that group are Gigi, Kelly, and Trinity. You might e Mail/ write to Rare Find Nursery- 957 Patterson Rd, Jackson , NJ 08527( a mail order house) and ask them. Closer to you try Hammonds Acres of rhododendrons 25911 70th Ave NE, Arlington Wa 9822Phone 360 403 9177, and Whitney Gardens and Nursery PO box 170, Brinnon Washington98320-0080 phone 360 796 4411 e mail [email protected] There is also a data base at the website of the American rhododendron Society where you can look up key chacteristics such as temperature, color, height etc.
Al Fitzburgh

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

You might find some that can take a little heat, and you might find some that can take a little more sun than others, but when you put sun + heat together you're asking for trouble, in a climate like yours, you're going to need to find some afternoon shade for them. There are a ton of other shrubs you could consider for a sunny area, if you need ideas, there are lots of people over on the Trees & Shrubs forum who could offer you some suggestions.

Cincinnati, OH

"My Mary" does the best in our local desert condtions. It has been very hot until foday and we have had only one significant rain since a wet January. This was a reun of last summers weather. It has gone below 0 degrees here.

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