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Heat tolerant rhododendron

3 months ago
last modified: 3 months ago

I don't have much experience with rhododendrons, but I planted a small (quart size) Holden in April of this year that was doing fine until the heat came in the past month. We had about a week around 95+ a month ago and it drooped badly. Since then everything from 80s to 100, but it has steadily declined and I'm pretty sure it's dead. It has good draining acidic soil and was regularly watered with a soaker hose, so I'm inclined to believe that it just couldn't take the heat, especially as such a small plant.

I want to give it another shot and get a new one to plant this fall that's more heat tolerant. Hoping a fall planting will give it a better chance also. I've been turned off to the Nova Zembla by all of the negative press I've read here about it. Plus I'd like something on the smaller side. Larger darker green leaves also a positive :)

Choices at my local nursery that fit the size I'm looking for (max 5 or 6 feet width, prefer smaller) are these. Any that you'd suggest that are more heat tolerant? Will be in part shade. I'm in 8a southeast Virginia. Thank you.

Besse Howells
Edith Bosley
Mardi Gras
Percy Wiseman - this one looks particularly pretty to me
Purple passion
Purpeum elegans
Yaku princess

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