Rhododendrons are one of the most popular flowering plants. Their ability to transform landscaping both in and out of flowering season has made them an ideal plant throughout the year. Numerous varieties also make them suitable for many different aesthetics as they come in a variety and style for virtually any taste.
How to care for rhododendrons
Caring for rhododendrons is a relatively easy process. Where many go wrong is that they take the care to extremes by either caring too much or not caring at all. By managing the care of the plants properly they are going to produce more higher quality flowers and will have an overall appearance that is much healthier than those trees that aren’t cared for in the proper manner.
One of the first steps in rhododendron care should be proper use of mulch. Mulch is good for these shallow root plants because it protects them from hot and cold patches. The mulch will keep the roots of the plant from drying out and will give them stability throughout the year by providing a level of protection in the difference seasons. In the case of rhododendrons a more acidic mulch should be used. To find a good acidic mulch it is a good idea to work with your local garden shop. Different areas are going to have access to a different variety of mulch so it is important to find an acidic mulch that is found in your area.
During the flowering season it is a good idea to use fertilizers. The problem with fertilizers is that often times people over fertilize. By doing this the plant is going to have a negative impact from what was meant to be positive. There are numerous fertilizers that can be purchased that are made exclusively for rhododendrons. These are the products that are going to be best suited for their flowering season. Make sure that the directions on the packaging are followed precisely. Even slight over usage of the fertilizer can have a negative impact on the plants so it is a good idea to take that into consideration when using the product.
Pruning for better results
As with any leafy plant it is good idea to prune the rhododendron. There is however a proper way to do this. Unfortunately, many people that prune their plants are often doing so in a manner that could be detrimental to the aesthetics of the plant. In the case of the rhododendron the best time to prune the plant is immediately following the flowering season. This is typically going to be about mid summer when this is done. While it may be the hottest time of the year and unpleasant this is the most appropriate time to prune these plants.
If pruning is done early in the season it could shorten the length of the flowering season. If the pruning is done too late it could reduce the number of flowering buds produced the following year. By pruning immediately after the flowering season the plant doesn’t have time to start working towards the next season and isn’t going to be impacted in the current season. Obviously the idea here is to create optimal results.
The best way to prune a rhododendron is to first go through the plant looking for any dead or dying limbs. By immediately eliminating these portions of the plant it is easier to eliminate problems with pests and disease. These areas also can have an impact on the aesthetics as well so the removal is relatively important not just for the healthy of the plant but for the overall appearance as well. Once the dead or dying limbs are removed it is time to mold the bush to fit the aesthetics of the landscaping.
Normally there will be several long branches that shoot out of the rhododendron. It is a good idea to polish the look of the plant by simply pruning away all of the long out shoots so that the plant has a more uniform look. This look will give a much better aesthetic to the landscaping and will allow the plant to focus on producing more flowering buds as opposed to trying to grow further. Pruning in this manner is meant to assist in producing more large healthy flowers in the following season.
Throughout the year
Since rhododendrons can be damaged by over watering it is important to monitor water levels in the soil. In areas where rain is frequent it may be a good idea to create a means of drainage to allow removal of excess water from the soil. In those areas where water is less plentiful it is a good idea to gently water the plant to ensure it stays healthy throughout the year. Just because these plants like less moisture in the soil doesn’t mean that they enjoy it completely dry. It is important that they receive adequate amounts of water so that the soil is most but not damp.
Other than that, rhododendrons can simply be enjoyed throughout the year. By following these simply guidelines for rhododendron care it should possible to see better results during the flowering season with a healthier looking plant throughout the year.