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Rhododendron is State Flower of Washington

Updated on August 10, 2017
Peggy W profile image

My grandpa loved gardening. I learned much from him. To this day, I enjoy puttering around in our garden growing plants for beauty & food.

Rhododendron Macrophyllum

There are over 900 species of rhododendrons and azaleas come from the same genus.

This Rhododendron macrophyllum is also commonly called the Coast, Pacific or even the Big Leaf Rhododendron all of which are descriptively accurate since the leaves are large and this type of evergreen rhododendron is found along the Pacific Coast of the United States on up to Canada.

It is this particular rhododendron, the Rhododendron macrophyllum, that is the State Flower of Washington and it typically blooms in the late Springtime of year.

Rhododendron macrophyllum
Rhododendron macrophyllum | Source

Rhododendrons in Golden Gate Park

We were captivated by the beauty of rhododendrons in full bloom in Golden Gate Park one Spring. Golden Gate Park is located in San Francisco, California and is a wonderful place in which to spend hours or even days.

My hubby and I have spent some time in that glorious city park on two different vacations starting and ending in San Francisco prior to our return trip to Houston.

If San Francisco was on our radar for a future vacation, I would enjoy spending even more time in that distinctive and beautiful park particularly if these glorious shrubs happened to be in bloom.

Rhododendron macrophyllum
Rhododendron macrophyllum | Source

Rhododendrons in Gardens

The Rhododendron garden was magnificent and those bushes literally towered over us! They grandly stood and displayed their gorgeous blossoms under the canopy of some neighboring pine trees. I am not sure what specific type of rhododendrons those happened to be.

They were probably labeled, but that was long before I ever thought of writing articles on the web.

My husband and I stood in awe of their display of beauty when we were out there on vacation one year.

We love our azalea bushes when they are in bloom and thought that these larger rhododendron shrubs looked to us like azaleas on steroids!

Like azaleas most rhododendrons typically have shallow roots, like acidic soil and enjoy some dappled shade for ideal growing conditions.

You can see by the range map presented here below that their ideal growing climate is the far northwestern edges of our country including northern California, Oregon, parts of Washington and they even stray as far north as in bits of southern British Columbia, Canada.

If we had the right climate and growing conditions here in Houston, I would surely wish to add these beauties to our garden when first planning a landscape design.

At least we have their cousins the azaleas to make us happy!

Rhododendron macrophyllum range map
Rhododendron macrophyllum range map | Source

Exploring Rhododendron

Keeping Rhododendrons in Shape

Here is more information about this flowering shrub if you are interested.

If you wish to know how to keep rhododendrons properly groomed, the video below explains it quite nicely.

Obviously if you grow them in your garden you would wish for them to be compact and tidy in appearance. If you have numerous plants it would take some effort but dedicated gardeners usually love tending their plants.

Are you a dedicated gardener?

Grooming Rhododendrons

Rhododendron Questions

Are you familiar with rhododendrons?

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Rhododendrons in the Bayard Cutting Arboretum State Park

To see the beautiful Bayard Cutting Arboretum State Park located in Great River, New York on Long Island, you will certainly enjoy the video below. I would love to visit there someday when the rhododendrons are in bloom.

When traveling I always enjoy visiting gardens to see the various types of plants grown in that region of the country. Some specialize in certain types of plants and others are diverse in what is planted and grown there.

Sometimes we have made discoveries by seeing signs along the road. We got to see the Alfred B. Maclay State Gardens in Tallahassee, Florida because of that fact.

At other times when first planning a trip a certain garden was on the itinerary. Such was the case when visiting Bellingrath Gardens in Alabama.

Rhododendrons in The Bayard Cutting Arboretum State Park

Visiting Gardens

Do you go out of your way to visit beautiful and/or distinctive gardens?

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© 2016 Peggy Woods


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    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 2 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Roberta,

      Hope you get to see those high elevations in the Smoky Mountains someday and see the rhododendrons in person. Appreciate your comment.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 2 months ago from the short journey

      Thanks for this look at your rhododendron sightings. :) One day I want to see the Smoky's high elevation Catawba up close and in person as well as the Washington State flower.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 2 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Larry,

      That was a sad way to lose a prized rhododendron! Hopefully that was a wake up call for your Uncle John.

    • Larry Fish profile image

      Larry W Fish 2 months ago from Raleigh

      Rhododendrons are so beautiful. We had many of them around when I grew up as a child in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. In my last article I wrote about my Uncle John when he was drunk and backed over my Mom's prize rhododendron. Great article, Peggy.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 4 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Athlyn,

      The rhododendrons certainly are showy when in bloom. You were fortunate to have had them growing in your area in British Columbia.

    • Athlyn Green profile image

      Athlyn Green 4 months ago from West Kootenays

      I love Rhodies and we were fortunate enough to have the Pacific Giants up in B.C. These were huge and would be full of bloom. And the colors!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 6 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Rajan,

      Rhododendrons do not grow in our climate either but azaleas do. I also admire other plants that do not grow here. At least we can all admire them in photos!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 6 months ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      The Rhododendron blooms are a beauty to behold. Unfortunately our climate is unsuitable for its growth so I can only view it in pictures.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 14 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Patricia,

      So glad that this was informative and that it taught you something about rhododendrons that you did not previously know. Appreciate your comment. :)

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 14 months ago from sunny Florida

      Gorgeous....the videos and photos added so much to this, Peggy. It is indeed a lovely plant and I learned much that I did not know about them.

      Angels once again winging their way to you ps

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 21 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi FlourishAnyway,

      It is a shame that these beautiful shrubs are invasive in some areas. I did not realize that. Like all plants, if grown in the region from where they originated all is usually well.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 21 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Linda,

      So nice to be able to enjoy rhododendrons where you live. Southern British Columbia is so pretty from what I got to see many years ago.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 21 months ago from USA

      Beautiful flowers and hard to imagine them being an invasive and thus disdained species somewhere. I would love to have some purple ones in my yard! Stunning!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 21 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Jackie,

      Nice that they grow in so many places. They would be beautiful with a mountain as backdrop! Thanks for the share.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 21 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi BlossomSB,

      I am not sure where they originated but they are listed as alpine native plants in most parts of the world. They must have been beautiful when you visited Scotland! Like you, we enjoy our azaleas.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 21 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I love rhododendrons. I'm enjoying their appearance in southern British Columbia at the moment. Thank you for sharing the information and the lovely photos.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 21 months ago from The Beautiful South

      They are also so beautiful in the eastern Virginia states. State flower of West Virginia I believe. I so love them with all that green backing and so lush along the mountains you can spot them miles away! Great pick for an article.


    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 21 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Blond Logic,

      That seems to happen often when plants that do well in one part of the world are exported to another place where they then become invasive. It is too bad when that occurs.

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 21 months ago from Victoria, Australia

      I wonder where they originated? I've seen them in so many places in the world and especially remember a visit to the Island of Skye in Scotland when the rhododendrons were out; it was so beautiful. Our first home had a big garden with some lovely ones, but now I have a very small garden I have azaleas and they give a pretty show, too. Enjoyed the reminder.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 21 months ago from Brazil

      The first ones I saw (and noticed) were in Washington. I was very impressed by them. My husband, scoffed at them because they are a very invasive plant in parts of the UK where he is from.

      They are still a beautiful plant.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 21 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello emge,

      So glad you found this article informative.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 21 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello Thelma,

      Nice that you get to enjoy rhododendrons in the Blue Ridge mountains also. Enjoy their spring bloom. Our azaleas have pretty much finished blooming or are at the tail end of the season for now.

    • emge profile image

      Madan 21 months ago from Abu Dhabi

      Nice post Peggy with lots of information

    • ThelmaC profile image

      Thelma Raker Coffone 21 months ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA

      Nice article about one of my favorite plants. Mine are getting ready to bloom here in the Blue Ridge mountains. Lovely!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 21 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Bill,

      Nice to know from you just how hardy rhododendrons truly are. :) At least we have our azaleas!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 21 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Frank,

      So you live in the nutmeg state. Interesting! I would guess that you have some wonderful flowering plants where you live.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I would be willing to bet I have never lived in a home in Washington where there wasn't one of these beautiful plants. They are a sure sign of spring and I would miss them living somewhere else....and for those thinking of getting one, they are practically impossible to kill. I'm proof of that. :)

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 21 months ago from Shelton

      Springtime you learn a great deal from hubbers like you.. what a fantastic state flower.. we're the nutmeg state..:( but her we all can't have wonderful flowers...thank you for sharing all this information.. bless you Peggy :)