Aglo Rhododendron - photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries

With the memory of our mild Minnesota winter rapidly fading and the grass growing greener by the day, you may be feeling the need for a little something to chase away the last of the winter blahs.  A color burst from the Rhododendron family may be just the thing to perk you up!

Winter hardy Rhododendrons and Azaleas have long been a lovely spring fix for avid gardeners.  Rhododendrons such as Aglo and PJM have proven themselves able to prosper in southern Minnesota provided they are planted in a moderately to strongly acidic and well drained soil. 

Aglo Rhododendrons grow to 3′-4′ tall and wide and PJM’s grow slightly larger – 4′-6′ tall and wide.   Green leaves turn mahogany in the winter.   The Aglo sports clusters of pink flowers while the PJM’s flowers are a more vibrant, darker pink.

The Northern Lights series of winter hardy Azaleas has been devloped by the University of Minnesota and have become very popular.  Some of my favorite colors are Mandarin Lights, Rosy Lights, Golden Lights and Northern Lights.  These winter hardy azaleas grow to 4′-5′ in height and width.

Be sure to provide a location with 1/2 day to full day sun and acidic soil for your winter hardy Rhododendrons and Azaleas.  They will reward you with color beyond compare.   I just walked out to the sales deck and the Rhododendrons are beginning to blossom, and the buds on the Azaleas are swelling.  Prices range from $14.99 to $26.99.