Rhododendrons are popular evergreen shrubs that are easy to grow and are known for their beautiful purple blooms. They are often used for landscaping as they can be shaped quite easily. Though mostly grown as a small bush, these shrubs can grow to full size trees with heights over 50 feet. Rhododendrons are excellent additions to any garden as they are really easy to grow and care for.
These shrubs are known to be shade-tolerant though they do enjoy some time in the sun. Try and place your plant so it gets some morning sun, but not too much intense afternoon light as this is more intense and can burn the plant’s leaves. As a general rule, the hotter your area is, the more shade you want your rhododendron to receive. Also, it is important to amend your soil before planting. Add in organic material such as compost or peat moss to aid in draining and to provide nutrients to the soil. Finally, rhododendron will grow best in acidic soil with a pH of 4.5 to 6. You can measure your soil’s acidity by using a soil test kit from any home gardening store. If you find that your soil is not acidic enough you should add sulfur to lower the pH.
All planting should be done in fall before the first frost. Dig a hole that is slightly smaller in depth than the plant’s root ball and twice as wide. You want the top of the shrub’s root ball to protrude from the ground when planted so that it can settle over time. Place the plant in the hole and begin to backfill the area. When halfway filled, water the plant thoroughly to begin saturating the roots. Continue to fill the hole and water again once completely filled. Add a 2-4 inch layer of organic mulch such as pine bark to aid in water retention and impede weed growth. Water thoroughly during the first growing season to help develop a strong root system.