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If you are looking for a random, rare or very specific type of rhododendron for the Oregon coast, then you’ll want to head over to Thompson’s Nursery in Waldport.


In addition, they have an annual rhododendron clearance sale in late May. The timing is brilliant! The cold raining season is ending, the sun is shining and rhododendrons are in bloom everywhere. Who doesn’t want a rhododendron?!

It’s a multi-day event that is packed with buyers but they have a system that makes the process runs very smoothly. The sale started on a Friday and I made it on Sunday morning without a clue of what I wanted to buy – other than three rhodies sounded like a good idea.

Photo of Thompson’s Nursery by Rebecca Hooper

The rhodies were in sections based on size and price. I stayed in the $10 section. Yes $10!!! There were similar plants, though larger, in the next isle for $15 – an incredible bargain!

The friendly folks assisting me helped make heads and tails of all the varieties. We selected plants with a variety of leaf shapes, so when not in blume would look interesting. We also selected for color, using complimentary colors for plants that would be next to each other. In the end I chose the five below.

Photo of rhododendron haul by Rebecca Hooper


Photo of shortie rhododendrons next to road by Rebecca Hooper

The plant on the left is a low shrub and should only grow to a few feet tall. It’s color is yellow. This was perfect for the entry to my driveway where I have a similar rhodie that has red flowers. Yellow and red = nice complimentary colors. Short will be helpful so I can see out onto the road before pulling out.

If you’re kind, you’ll ignore the glaring need for mowing and weed whacking. 🙂





Photo of rhododendron hedge by Rebecca Hooper

The three plants in the center (picture of all five, above), from left to right have flowers that are yellow with orange and large leaves (Wickiup’s Sister), blue with small leaves (Blaney’s Blue), and cream with large leaves (Trude Webster).

These are planted along the fence and will be a sound barrier hedge between the house and main road.



The final rhododendron has red flowers and large leaves. It is planted further down along the fence and visible from our picture window.


Tips for Planting Rhododendrons


  • The plant has a shallow root system so the whole should not be huge. However, you’ll want to leave about a half of an inch of the root cap exposed. Don’t bury these beauties too deep. 


  • No fertilizer in the hole or on the soil for the first month. Let the plant focus on developing roots.


  • Buy your rhododendron fertilizer at Thompson’s. It’s only $10 for a large bag. It’s a slow release fertilizer that only needs to be applied once a year, in the spring.


What is your favorite rhododendron variety? Do you have a different source?

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