Azaleas & Rhododendrons in Shade


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I'm building a raised bed under a large cedar and planning to plant either azaleas or rhododendrons. The spot will have dappled shade during the winder months, but during the summer it's mostly shade. Will this be too detrimental for bud-set? Should I go a different route? And what about Encore azaleas in this location? I'm in zone 7 near Memphis, TN. I'm actually thinking about orange or yellow azaleas -- not Encore.
 
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For decent bud set you also need a good amount of moisture in the summer months of the preceding year. They'll cope but in that situation you won't as good a display as with slightly better sunlight. Any chance of removing some canopy perhaps to get a touch more light in?
 
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The cedar is tall and very healthy -- lots of branches. Thinning it would be a major undertaking. I could possibly remove some of the lower hanging branches, but there are other trees that provide shade as well. Azaleas may not be the best choice for this location. I may have to consider plants with interesting leaves, berries, whatever.
 
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Do you have a pic you can show of the area? Azaleas are quite tolerant as long as they get their acidic soil
 

Meadowlark

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I love Azaleas. Having an evergreen tree providing some winter shade is a good thing. Full winter sun can really hurt the leaves of exposed Azaleas. I have some Encores. Personally don't like them as well as other Azaleas...but I haven't seen orange azaleas.
 
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This is my outdoor man-cave -- a work in progress. I'm not 100% finished, but this is the raised bed under the cedar on the south side of my house (zone 7 near Memphis). I'd love to add azaleas if possible. The other two large trees are sycamore and live oak. Behind the place where I stood to take this photo is another cedar, several pines, and an elm -- so this is a very shady area in the summer. This photo was taken at 8 AM. Just up the hill, you see Adirondack chairs in front of the live oak. The large bushes are red Encore azaleas.

It's hard to see in this photo, but in the foreground and to the right of the cedar are 3 small encore azaleas that I planted 2 years ago. All 3 have buds right now. This give me hope that Encores can work in this bed, though I don't expect them to be prolific bloomers.

To the right of this bed is another raised bed that mirrors this one. It also has several azaleas and two dogwoods under a large elm.

50946
 
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If you could site the azaleas toward the edges of the shade then you would be in fine shape; the rest of the planting in deep shade can be made up of perhaps dryopteris ferns and the such, perhaps as a stumpery?
 
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I have also considered ferns, elephant ears, and such. I do like both. Maybe some caladiums for color. I hadn't considered stumpery, but was thinking stones.
 
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Perhaps this bed gets more sun than I realized. I'm not typically out there mid-morning. This photo was taken at approximately 10 AM. I'll try to see how long the sun shines thru the canopy.

Raised Bed at 10am-smaller.jpg
 
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I have some hydrangeas, but so far I've had limited success even though I keep them watered. The plants are only a few years old, so maybe they need a little more time.
 
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Still a work in progress. I'd like recommendations on ground cover around this bed -- something that can tolerate autumn leaves and some foot traffic, mainly me doing lawn maintenance or just enjoying being outside. I'm not opposed to creating walking paths thru ground cover if necessary. In the summer, I will have to water using a garden hose -- no sprinkler system. The new bed contains Pink Ruffles and Conversation Piece azaleas, Encore azaleas in the back where they can get more sun and autumn ferns and coral bells scattered around.
 

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I think caladium would look great in there. Plant a bunch of it as ground cover for a pop of color. I have seen places selling in bulk (like 100 bulbs) mixed colors online. Don't recall where though
 
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I'm thinking of ground cover outside the raised bed. Would you go with Caladiums there?
Maybe line the outside of the bed with caladium? That way it's ready enough to step over to get into the bed to maintain it, but will give some color and interest to it. That's okay how I would do it, then use a lower ground cover inside it, a variegated leafy plant maybe. Or just use caladium inside and a smaller shade flower around the outside. Not sure on what though.

Just a few options.
 

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