A visit to a nursery and homeowners will see so many new selections of plants for the landscape. Some of these plants are new plant developments and may include plants we could not previously grow in Florida’s heat and humidity. One new plant series is the Southgate® Rhododendrons.

Anyone from more northern areas of the South is very familiar with the rhododendrons that offer showy spring blooms. Those particular rhododendrons just don’t make it in our Florida climate.

The Southgate® series from Louisiana were developed to be more tolerant of our weather conditions. Homeowners must still consider plant placement very carefully since these plants have some specific requirements even in Florida. Plants will do best in shade or filtered shade, especially in the afternoon. They do like an acid soil amended with compost and areas that are well drained. Homeowners will need to supply water during the growing season to maintain a uniform soil moisture.

Rhododendron foliage

Rhododendron foliage with buds.

Consider trying one of these newer rhodendrons if your landscape has a suitable spot and you will definitely enjoy a bright spot of color come spring.

Special Note: If you have animals or children be cautious since all plant parts are toxic if ingested.

Beth Bolles
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