Rhododendrons are one of the most beautiful shrubs, with their gorgeous blossoms and lush foliage. In addition to being a great shrub for aesthetic purposes, people are often pleased to discover that they are also fairly low maintenance. That said, it’s still important to take the time to keep them shapely, healthy, and rejuvenated.
Here are some tips for how best to care for your rhododendrons:
- Plant rhododendrons in the spring or fall.
- Fertilize them sparingly in the early spring.
- Avoid planting in areas that have full sun or deep shade. Planting in areas that have partial shade during some part of the day, or in areas where other trees can cast shade on them, will help them fight off pests, insects, and disease. Also, root rot is less likely to happen to plants where the roots can’t be kept cool and where there is good drainage.
- In addition to good drainage, ensure that your soil is moist and acidic. Add organic material, such as compost, chopped leaves, or composted cow manure.
- Depending on their size, space plants 2 to 6ft apart, digging a hole as deep as the root ball and twice as wide.
- Keep up with trimming so that you don’t end up with excess growth.
- Maintenance pruning should ideally be done every year when the flowers have faded and before the new growth emerges. The purpose of pruning is to remove the dead parts in order to control future growth. Use high quality pruning shears.
- The rhododendrons make blooms that flower on the prior year’s wood, so you need to be extra careful when pruning, so that you don’t snip the buds off for next spring, as they will be made this summer. If you cut too much, you risk having a shrub that won’t flower for the next year or two.
- Remove the dead flowers, as well as the old, dead wood. This will help keep the plant’s energy focused on growth, rather than on producing seed. Cut near the base of the old flower cluster and remove all of the dead parts of the shrub, then follow the branch back to healthy wood and snip there.
- Use rubbing alcohol to disinfect your pruning shears between cuts.
We know that the idea of trimming and pruning can seem overwhelming, which is why we would love to help you out! Call us today at ATC Landscape if you are located in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge & area: 604-720-2853.