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10 Varieties of Rhododendrons to Try in Your Yard (+ Growing Tips)

Looking for an evergreen shrub that loves the shade, bears large flowers, is low maintenance and will last for decades? Then look no further than the hardy rhododendron.

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Easy and Elegant Rhodies

It's best to plant your rhododendrons in spring or early fall. If your soil is fertile, you probably won't need to fertilize them. Otherwise, feed them with a product labeled for azaleas and rhododendrons and follow the package directions for how much to apply and how often. Torn between azaleas and rhododendrons for your landscape? Both kinds of shrubs are in the Rhododendron genus and thrive in well-drained, acidic soils, although rhododendrons are usually bigger plants with bigger leaves and flower clusters, also called trusses. For best results, plant rhododendron varieties recommended for your region.

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Rhododendron 'Dandy Man Color Wheel'

'Dandy Man Color Wheel', shown here, spins through four colors: lipstick-red buds and ruffled blooms that open to soft pink inside and deep pink outside. The fourth color? The flowers age to pure white before they drop. The plants, which are hardy in USDA Zones 5-9, hold their leathery leaves throughout the winter. They're also deer resistant and take part sun to sun. They grow from 48 to 96 inches tall and wide and make good hedges, border plants or specimen plants.

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Rhododendron 'P.J.M.'

Bright lavender-purple blooms and dark green leaves make 'P.J.M.' rhododendrons show-stoppers. This variety is hardy in Zones 4-8 and attractive even in winter when its evergreen foliage takes on a mahogany-brown tint. Try it in borders, mass plantings or containers.

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Rhododendron 'September Song'

Despite its name, 'September Song' opens its loose, showy clusters of orange, pink and yellow blooms in spring. This evergreen shrub is hardy in Zones 6-8 and works beautifully as a foundation plant or in a mixed border. It grows at a moderate rate to reach four to five feet tall, with a wider spread, and, like most rhododendrons, it's easy to care for. Plant it with camellias, gardenias, azaleas or coral bells. Give it partial sun and regular water, especially if you're in a warm region or if it's planted in a container.

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