Need advice on planting location of Rhododendron

lovemyflower_gardenApril 22, 2006

I purchased last night a Catawbiense Grandiflora Rhododendron. I had never seen/noticed a rhodie before(this is our first owned home/my first year at gardening), but saw these in Costco and although it has no flowers yet I thought it was just a beautiful plant. I am really fond of the evergreen flowering plants. The leaves resemble those of my magnolia tree, which I just love.

My question about location is: how much shade will this plant tolerate and thrive in. The place I have in mind is on the north-west corner of our house where, when it gets a little bigger, it will conceal the air conditioner and trash cans from view, which reside on the west side of our house. So it would get very little if any morning sun.

It will also get very little evening sun because there is a tree line alon the west side about 15 feet from our house, a couple of the trees directly west being evergreens (pine and magnolia).

So, does my new favorite plant have any chance of thriving here?

Also, the little card that came on the plant says average height/width is 7' by 7'. Can I really expect it to get that big--it would be great if it did!

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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

This is a very tough plant, but rhododendrons have special requirements that you should be aware of:

It needs a moist well-drained soil. Do not let the roots sit in wet conditions and do water it if the leaves stay wilted after the heat of the day is past. Do not plant in clay soil. If you have clay soil, use a raised bed. Make sure your soil is acidic. I like to use a 50:50 mix of composted peat with the natural soil.

It needs some sun to bloom but likes partial shade and some wind protection, especially the first couple years. If it gets afternoon sun, it will be OK.

After 10 years it will be pushing 7' tall. You can lightly prune branches that seem to be out of place a little to make it bush out and keep a good shape. Only prune after it blooms and before mid summer to avoid loosing flower buds.

Don't be tempted to fertilize. You can apply a small amount of a good fertilizer like HollyTone every couple years, but in general, they don't need much fertilizer unless you want to sacrifice flowers for size.

Here is a link that might be useful: How to Grow Rhododendrons

    Bookmark   April 22, 2006 at 5:54PM
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