Dark Purple Azalea?

I am looking for a dark purple azalea that I believe is an early bloomer . I called a local gardening shop and they told me that the dark purple is "Girard's Fuschia", but it looks more hot pink to me. Does a dark purple azalea even exist? And if it does what is it called?
Thank you in advance
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snipped-for-privacy@msn.com wrote:

'Gerard's Fuschia' certainly isn't purple, but 'Girard's Purple' is; the Girards bloom in April. For an early bloomer that is to the blue end of deep purple, look at 'Oceanlake' & see if that's closer to the color you have in mind. A larger more upright azalea with luminescent purple blooms is 'Mood Indigo,' not as common as 'Oceanlake' however so can be hard to find. There are also many very dark purple rhododendrons including sturdy ironclads like "Lee's Best Purple" & "Lee's Dark Purple," but I'm assuming you're distinguishing between evergreen azaleas & large rhodies. There are a great many small species-rhodies, however, that have the same garden impact as Kurume or Girard azaleas, & 80% of them are one or another shade of purple. You might want to look at Rhododendron yungningense for example, mine's shown here: http://www.paghat.com/rhodyyungningense.html & here's my mood-indigo & oceanlake respectively: http://www.paghat.com/moodindigo.html http://www.paghat.com/rhody_oceanlake.html plus 'Karin Seliger' which blooms in March: http://www.paghat.com/rhododendron_karinseleger.html
-paghat the ratgirl
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There is a 'Girard Purple' which is much more purple than Girard Fuschia.
-- David J. Bockman, Fairfax, VA (USDA Hardiness Zone 7) email: snipped-for-privacy@beyondgardening.com http://beyondgardening.com/Albums

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snipped-for-privacy@msn.com wrote:

First, are you looking or a deciduous or evergreen azalea? Most deciduous azaleas are hardier, but there aren't many purple ones.
The evergreen Girards are:
Girards's Fuschia is called "hot purple" or "reddish purple". It is an evergreen azalea but not a dark purple. It is one of the best Girard azaleas.
Girard's Dwarf Lavender is more of a purple rather than a lavender. One of the most uniform and compact growing of all the evergreen azaleas. It has excellent foliage vigor and hardiness and need no, or very little, pruning. Excellent for small gardens and foundation plantings, Dwarf Lavender displays a kaleidoscope of Fall colors including, orange, yellow and green.
Girards's Leslie Purple has very large hose-in-hose purple blossoms on a low and compact plant. Like all Girard's evergreen azaleas this one is also very hardy. It blooms in early May.
Elsie Lee is a Shammarello evergreen azalea from Ohio also. It is a light reddish-blueish-purple. The flowers appear in the middle of each flowering season on this fine, hardy azalea. The large, simi-double flowers are supported by a strong branching system covered with forest green leaves.
Rhododendron yedoense var. poukhanense (Korean Azalea) is a purple/rose evergreen azalea that is very hardy. Leaves are deciduous in cold climates or semi-deciduous, dimorphic (two different forms, typical of evergreen azaleas). Spring leaves are deep green on upper surface, paler under-neath, and narrow.
Second, where in the world do you live?
The Girard and Shammarello azaleas are from Ohio, but they do best in more moderate areas like Western Oregon and Western Washington, and the milder parts of the mid-Atlantic region south of the Mason-Dixon line over to the Ozarks. After about 3 years of age they are much hardier. When young they are a little tender where I live in Zone 6. If you are in a more extreme climate, stick to larger plants. You will do better.
Here is a key to some azalea color terms used in the trade:
lavender = pale purple lilac = pale reddish purple plum = reddish purple fuchsia = reddish purple wine = purple
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In the southeast, people grow a dark purple large evergreen azalea that is often called "formosa". It would not be hardy above zone 7 I believe. There is a dark purple rhododendron called "purple splendor" which is a very hardy rhododendron and a good strong deep purple. It is hardy at least to zone 5.

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Your take on the R. ponticum hybrid Purple Splendour (the rhododendron, not the evergreen azalea) is off. Here in Zone 6 where I live, very few people have been able to keep it healthy. It seems to get smaller each year after it is planted. It is a beautiful plant, but not very hardy. It doesn't do well with the heat and cold of the East Coast where I live in Zone 6. It is rated variously by different people, but the American Rhododendron Society rates it at -5F. That is probably right.
For a photo of Purple Splendour look at:
http://oregonstate.edu/dept/ldplants/rhpursp3.htm
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hmmm. Well it seems to grow very well in spokane, washington, which is a zone 5/6 climate. I guess there must be other factors involved as well as cold tolerance.

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Purple Splendour, the R. ponticum rhododendron hybrid, doesn't do well in our zone 6 climate. Perhaps it is our hot humid summers rather than our cold snowy winters. I know that your climate is very different to ours even though we are in the same zone. We yell drought if it doesn't rain every week in the summer, you build dams to irrigate your farms. You can use swamp air-conditioners, our air is so moist they don't work here. [I was born in Spokane.]
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On the off-chance anyone was confused, the "other" 'Purple Splendor' is an R. yedoense var poukhahense x R. hexe. It does spectacularly well in the Pacific Northwest & is even encountered around here (in Kitsap County) growing in roadside xeriscape gardens, with at most the protection of a tree, as it blooms even in pretty deep shade. Though it might be overly common it really is one of my favorites because so darned reliable. Mine's in fat colorful bud right now & should be in full flower quite soon. Strikes me as more flourescent pink than actually purple though.
-paghat the ratgirl
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