Although many Rhododendrons cannot be grown in our climate, with thousands of varieties available, there are numerous Rhododendrons that have been bred to withstand the colder climates. The gorgeous blooms put on quite a show in May and June, depending on the variety and boast flower colors of pink, red, white, yellow, and purple – one for just about every landscape situation.
It is often difficult to tell the difference between Azaleas and Rhododendron. To botanists, they are all Rhododendrons, however gardeners like to distinguish between the two. All Azaleas are rhododendrons but not all rhododendrons are azaleas which is why they do look so similar. The best way to determine which one you are looking at is to remember that Azalea flowers have just 5 stamens while rhododendrons flowers can have 10 or more in each of their blossoms. And most Rhododendrons, although there are exceptions, have evergreen leaves.
Glen Echo stocks many of the PJM type Rhododendron. This is a group of Rhododendrons that were named after early Rhododendron developer Peter J. Mezitt, and with the help of his son, they created a line of winter hardy Rhododendrons that are very popular today.
Rhododendron types are a bit fussy, but once you know these few preferences, they are easy to grow. They enjoy environments where it is neither too hot nor too cold (Zones 5 to 8) which makes them a very good choice for our area. Rhododendrons are called the ‘queens of the shade garden’ for good reason. They are flowering shrubs that grow quite happily in a shady location. When you are planting rhododendrons in zone 5, partial shade is fine and full shade is also possible. They like some sun, but if planted in an area with part-shade or dappled shade, they will excel. Too much sun may scorch the leaves and dense shade can result in fewer flowers.
Zone 5 rhododendrons are also particular about soil. They thrive in moist, well-drained, acidic soils. Hardy rhododendron varieties prefer soil fairly high in organic matter and porous media. It’s wise to mix in topsoil, peat moss, compost, or sand before planting. Rhododendrons are shallow-rooted so take care not to plant too deeply. Protect from harsh winter winds and mulch annually. There should be little or no need to prune.
We stock quite a few varieties that will add color and charm to your garden.
Please check for current inventory as it can change quickly.