Answer: There are literally hundreds of rhododendrons and azaleas suitable for growing in southern California. Among the best are:
BELGIAN INDIAN (INDICA) (BI) HYBRIDS
Developed from R.simsii and possibly R.indicum in Belgium for greenhouse-forcing in the mid 1800's. Not so cold hardy (Zones 8-9). They form medium-sized shrubs, 4'-6' high, well-branched and spreading with medium-sized leaves. Floriferous habit. Blooming ranges from early to mid-late season.
The American equivalent of BI Hybrids. Developed in the 1920's in New Jersey as greenhouse forcing azaleas. Hardy in Zones 8-9. Medium-sized shrubs, 4'-6' high, spreading, compact, and floriferous. Colors range from reddish orange, to purple and white. Many are frilled.
A group developed in California, resulting in forcing azaleas that are more adaptable for landscaping. Some show their BI parentage, while others are Kurume type. Upright habit, 3'-5' tall. Hardy in Zone 8.
-CORAL MAY QUEEN
SOUTHERN INDIAN (INDICA) (SI) HYBRIDS
This hybrid group was developed from a large collection of Belgian Indian hybrids in the Southeastern US around 1870. It is a mixed group, including forms and hybrids of R. indicum X R. simsii and 'Mucronatum' forms X R. indicum. Early bloomers are usually more upright and vigorous, while later bloomers are more compact and spreading. This group is sometimes referred to as "Sun Azaleas" because of their strong sun and heat tolerance. Hardy in Zones 8-10.
-DUC de ROHAN
-GEORGE LINDSEY TABER
-PRIDE OF DORKING
-PRIDE OF MOBILE
Hope this information is helpful!
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