The Q&A Archives: Rhododendrons For My Climate

Question: I bought three zone 5 monrovia rhododendrons yesterday - jean marie de montague, lilac catawba and gomer waterer. Should I put them in my front or back yard? The front area is shaded by a large magnolia tree in the median during the mid day to late afternoon hours. The yard faces southwest and is often exposed to onshore breezes. My back yard faces northeast and is sheltered by a large block wall, with shade near the house and moderate sun elsewhere. I have great luck with cymbidiums, laelia anceps orchids, azaleas, and cool growing annuals in this area.

Answer: You've chosen three of the most widely adaptable rhododendrons available! Catawabiense 'Lilac' is an ironclad performer under the most difficult of situations. 'Gomer Waterer' is a hardy old-timer growing to 5' and producing white flushed lilac blooms in late May. 'The Hon. Jean Marie de Montague' is highly regarded, dependable, and easy to grow. All will appreciate morning sunshine and shade from hot afternoon summer sunshine. I'd plant them in the front yard so you, and your neighbors, can enjoy their spring flower display.

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