Rhododendrons can be a wonderful addition to any shady area planting.
As a broadleaf evergreen, they do require special care to insure their
continued ability to thrive in your garden. Rhododendrons should be
planted where they receive full winter shade, usually the north or east side
of the house, or under the protection of a large evergreen. Some
fences cast enough shadow to create this microclimate. Container
planting is not recommended for rhododendrons.
Rhododendrons require good drainage for best flower and root production.
We recommend digging the planting hole twice the width and one and one half
times the depth of the container in which the rhodie is purchased.
Plastic containers should be removed prior to planting; peat pots from field
dug rhodies may be left on; however we do recommend that a portion of the
pot be removed to encourage good root growth. Handouts about planting
peat pots are available upon request.
Amend the soil with peat moss, compost or Gardner & Bloom Acid Planting
Mix, but not steer manure, as the salt residual left in most manure
products may damage the plant. Master Nursery Master Start
Fertilizer may be used as fertilizer at the time of planting. Master Nursery
an anti-shock and rooting hormone is also advised.
Rhododendrons thrive on acid fertilizer. Master Nursery Acid Plant
Food or Sterns Miracid,
(all mixed with water when applied) are excellent choices if applied with
frequency—usually once to twice monthly during the flowering and growing
season. For those who desire less tedious fertilization programs, Jobe’s Evergreen Fertilizer Stakes, Master Nursery Camellia, Azalea &
Gardenia Food, or Best Rhododendron, Azalea or Camellia Food require less frequent use—usually 3-4 times per year.
Rhododendrons do not like wet feet—beware of over watering. For this
reason, be careful about planting thirsty annuals beneath your rhodies.
Drip irrigation utilizing infrequent (twice to once weekly when established)
deep watering is best; however, deep garden hose soaking or soaker hoses
will work also. Winter watering, at least once monthly November
through March, is essential. CloudCover, Wilt Pruf, or Anti-Stress
2000, all flexible polymer sprays applied directly to rhodie leaves,
help eliminate water loss through evaporation. These products may be
applied at the time of planting, and
from October through March.
Pruning of your rhododendron is usually not necessary—selection of the
appropriate overall mature growth habit is key. However, should winter
damage occur, make your pruning cut where a plant crotch occurs. To
prune for height (if you inherited an oversized rhodie), prune as soon after
flowering as possible, as flower buds for the next growing season begin to
Due to limited wholesale grower production, trucking, and weather,
not all rhododendrons are available during the planting season. Our
largest selection, due to shipping from Oregon, occurs in March.
Limited availability exists for special order from container growers and
therefore we cannot guarantee special orders. We cheerfully recommend