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The Complete Guide to Rhododendron Shrubs
Many gardeners choose a Rhododendron based on color, size, bloom size, and time. For example, placing Red Rhododendrons close to your home offers a contrast to light, neutral house colors and greens up your landscape all year long. The blooms of a White Rhododendron near your patio glow from the flames of your fire pit or solar lights in the evening. You also might choose a Rhododendron variety based on its easy maintenance or size, such as a Dwarf Rhododendron that thrives in tight spaces but still delivers big color.
Colorful Rhododendron VarietiesLavender Rhododendron: To make a statement in the garden. This large grower can reach eight feet high and produce large, gorgeous lavender blooms.
Red Rhododendron: A popular choice with beginners because they require little maintenance or water, but still reward gardeners with showy red blooms.
White Rhododendron: To add contrast to night gardens and year-round evergreen foliage to the landscape.
How to Plant RhododendronsThe first step toward success with Rhododendrons is choosing a hardy plant. Well-established nursery stock, like the ones carried by Brighter Blooms Nursery, is toughened up and more likely to transplant well.
The next step to ensuring that Rhododendrons thrive is to start them out with the right soil. They thrive in soils that are light and drain well. Before planting, make sure the soil is rich in acidic organic matter. Composted oak leaves and pine needles or pine bark usually work well. If you can prepare the soil in the fall, that's even better. Your soil has more time to amend before the spring planting of your Rhododendron.
By placing a shovel handle or other long, level tool horizontally across the planting hole at ground level, you can line up the root ball to the ground level. If you have clay soil, be sure to plant your Rhododendrons high, with about an inch of the root ball above the surface. While filling the hole with dirt, spread the roots out gently and cover the crown with soil. Rhododendrons need a good soaking immediately after planting. Mounding about two inches of mulch to encourage water to drain to the roots rather than away from them will help keep Rhododendrons watered nicely.