DaisyI said:Hydrangeas need a lot more sun than azaleas do. The secret to success with azaleas is to plant them in half peat and half native soil (make sure the peat is completely moistened - dry spots will burn the roots). The hole needn't be big and should be wider than deep (1.5 to 2 ft wide and 1 ft deep).
Plant the azalea slightly higher than the surrounding soil as they are very prone to root rot but keep the soil damp at all times. Deep watering will not kill an azalea.
luis_pr said:My experience with azaleas has been positive but they need well draining, acidic soil. I have them in dappled shade and in morning sun (until 11am ish) and no afternoon/evening sun in the summer. The rebloomer varieties perform well for me, including one that actually does not get morning sun / afternoon shade (it gets sun from morning until 2pm, quite hot when our summers get into the daily 100s. Well draining is key as I have had some losses in the clayish soil that this area has. I typically maintain them well mulched so they feed off the decomposing mulch.
As a result, I tend to plant hydrangeas more than azaleas. The paniculatas can are more sun tolerant in the north and may bloom sometimes with issues in warm evening locations like mine so they will do well where you live. Most of them used to be large specimens between 8-10' but there have been quite a lot of recent introductions of compact paniculatas. They are root hardy and should not have issues blooming.
Oakleaf hydrangeas are similar to paniculatas (old specimens were tall but new introductions are compact). However, they bloom earlier and their invisible flower buds develop in late Summer or in the Fall where you are (they open in the Spring). So, they may have some issues in unusually cold winters albeit not as bad as mopheads and lacecaps do. The oakleaf's fall foliage is stupendous.
luis_pr said:Sounds good. In the "non summer" part of the year, both can be placed in full sun. I actually have a Pistachio Mophead and a camellia getting a lot of sun because they are in pots and I have not chosen where to plant them yet. I am kind of late doing that. Sigh. Ha!
In the summer, RS needs morning only sun although I have it in dappled sun... Little QF and "regular" QF can take afternoon and morning sun. My Little QF does not develop nice foliage like my RS does in the Fall but it still manages to produce a medium yellow tone of color that is not that bad. Oakleaf hydrangeas tend to bloom early for me, sometimes they are the earliest of all hydrangeas to bloom. Pistachio, a new mophead still in a pot, started blooming at about the same time as the other oakleafs. Oakleaf hydrangeas are more drought tolerant which is good in my area.
I find that paniculatas perform best in more sunny areas. In the northeast, they can be in full sun like any other rose bush. But that does not work here because the summer sun is intense compared to the northern half of the country. Temps are also extremely hot so their blooming suffers. As a result, I have few paniculatas and more oakleaf/mopheads/serratas.
I chose the QFs because they are amongst the earliest blooming and I also chose Little Lime because I like the green lime color. LL is in a full shade (full shade but bright indirect sun) location where green/lime hydrangeas tend to stay green for longer than normal times before they change from lime to white. In some years, the bloom stays green until the Fall, which is great with me since I like the lime color anyways.
I have several oakleafs: Ruby Slippers, Snow Queen, Lil Honey and Pee Wee. All of them are under trees, in dappled sun locations. Pee Wee probably gets the less direct/indirect sun... mostly shaded but still bright shade so it blooms just fine...