Rhododendron – a – thon!
Last summer (28th August to be precise), I confessed in my blog to previously being nervous about growing Rhododendrons and found them a little intimidating, but I am pleased to announce that I have completely overcome this with great results and in fact, I’m heroically delving even deeper into the subject – check me out, not all superhero’s wear capes! To celebrate these beauties, we are offering 25% off selected Rhododendrons as our special deal later this week so keep them peeled
Rhododendrons are wonderful, and I encourage anyone to give them a go as it doesn’t have to be a whopping hybrid, the more compact dwarf varieties are lush. We do get asked many questions regarding these evergreen beauties so here goes with some top tips that you may or may not already know (a re-cap is handy to give us a nudge sometimes).
Do Rhododendrons need special compost or soil? What does ericaceous mean?
Rhododendrons are ericaceous plants meaning they like acidic soil (lime hating), similar plants include Azaleas, Camellia, Heathers and Blueberries. The PH level of soil or compost tells us if it is acid, alkaline or neutral and these plants prefer an acidic PH of around 5-6. If planting in a container, use Ericaceous Compost as this contains a low PH blend of growing material perfectly suited to these plants. If planting in your garden bed/border and you don’t have the appropriate PH level in your soil then Sulphur Soil can be incorporated (see below).
Can I use multi-purpose compost to plant up my Rhododendron?
A good quality multi-purpose compost can be used as long as the PH level is controlled and this can be done by incorporating our Sulphur Soil Granules which is very quick and easy to do. Rhododendrons love Sulphur Soil and we encourage people to churn these wonder pellets into their soil/compost once every 6 months to;
- Reduce the alkalinity of the soil/compost
- Unlock nutrients and make them available to the plant
- Increase the strength and health of the plant
- Obtain quicker results than other products on the market
How do I encourage lots of flowers? What can I do to make the flowers last?
The position/location of your Rhododendron can significantly affect prolonging the flowers. Being sheltered from the wind will increase the length of time the flowers remain as well as having some shade from the midday sun. Positioned near a fence, wall or under a tree canopy would be ideal as this would also give dappled shade being perfect conditions for this plant. They appreciate regular watering especially if they are in pots and this doesn’t only mean in the warmer months, watering during the Autumn is also very important as this is when the new buds are starting to get juicy.
Try to use rainwater as often as you can, tap water contains too much calcium which will reduce the acidity (tap water is fine every now and again). Feed the plant with a slow-release fertiliser, such as our Sulphur Soil, once every Spring and Autumn and a mulch would also be very much appreciated by the Rhodo.
Do I need to prune my Rhododendron? How do I prune my Rhododendron?
Rhododendrons are so easy to care for and don’t require any pruning unless you need to reduce its size or alter its shape. Mid-Spring is usually the best time to prune evergreens but with Rhodo’s this can be tricky as this is when they usually bloom so it is best to wait until just after they have flowered. If the plant needs pruning to shape every few years, it’s a good opportunity to also remove any dead or damaged stems too and whilst we’re at it, we could gently take off the dead heads without disturbing the new buds forming directly underneath. Deadheading is really the only job we need to do each year apart from the feeding and watering, and be warned, pruning can reduce the chances of the plant flowering the following season.
I hope that I have covered some useful snippets of information for you but please do of course email me with any questions and I’ll be happy to help (or ask one of the team for you).