If you are looking for some really pretty bushes, then rhododendron may well be your answer. But how to grow rhododendrons? Let’s find out!
What You'll Learn Today
How To Start Rhododendrons From Cuttings?
Growing rhododendrons from cuttings is actually the easiest way to grow rhododendrons and create a beautiful flowering bush.
- Simply take a cutting from the old, woody growth, that should have sprouted a new shoot.
- Snip off the shoot at an angle, and place it immediately into some hormone rooting powder.
- Remove the leaves, to ensure that the plant puts its energy into roots.
- Place it into a pot filled with good quality potting compost, and water well.
- It will take between 6 and 8 weeks for the new plant to become fully established; water it well and keep an eye on it during this time.
- Once fully established, your little plant will be able to be planted out, where it should thrive in the right conditions.
This article, from a site dedicated to growing rhododendrons, will explain things in more detail for you.
When Is The Best Time To Plant Rhododendrons?
There are two times of the year when it is considered most beneficial to plant rhododendrons – October, or March and April.
- Planting in the early spring is considered the best choice, as this is a vigorous plant that should be able to spring forth and reward you with lots of flowers!
- Autumn planting is good too, as the plant will have time to settle and get itself established before it puts a lot of energy into those beautiful blooms.
- This being said, if you find yourself with a rhododendron cutting that desperately needs to be planted in the summer, you can still do this.
- There are better and worse times of year to plant rhododendrons, but ultimately they will grow no matter when you plant them.
- Just try to avoid planting out in the depths of winter, for obvious reasons! You wouldn’t enjoy sleeping in a bed of frost, and neither would this plant.
When To Transplant Rhododendrons?
These hardy bushes will tolerate being moved at most times of the year – but you want to transplant them for the best results, right?
The best time to transplant rhododendrons is in the late winter or the early spring.
Transplanting your bushes at this time will ensure that they have the best chance of surviving and thriving!
If you transplant in late winter, the plant has a chance to gather its strength for the coming season.
If you transplant in early spring, there will be just enough time for the plant to get itself ready for the coming growing season.
Winter planting may take a little extra care; your rhododendron likes to be warm, so you could consider fleece or mulch.
Planting in spring means less effort needed to keep the plant warm, but you should still add a good dose of all purpose fertilizer to give it a good boost.
How To Propagate Rhododendrons?
Propagation is the art of growing a plant using cuttings, and luckily this is a relatively easy thing to do with rhododendrons!
These plants do take quite a while to get going, but once the roots are set you will be rewarded by a strong, healthy new plant.
- First, select your cutting. This should be taken from last year’s strong growth, and you are looking for a healthy shoot sprouting from it.
- Using a sharp knife, cut off the shoot at an angle.
- As quickly as possible, preferably within minutes, place the end of the cutting into rooting hormone powder.
- Place it into good quality compost in a small pot, and water it well.
- If your cutting carries leaves, it is a good idea to remove these so that more energy is placed into rooting.
- Keep an eye on your cutting, and ensure that the soil doesn’t dry out.
- It usually takes between 6 and 8 months for the plan to become fully established and ready to be potted on or planted out.
For a visual explanation on how to propagate rhododendrons, check out this informative video:
How To Root Rhododendrons?
Rhododendrons take quite a long time to grow their roots from cuttings. It can be between 6 and 8 months for the plant to become fully established.
This may surprise you, because rhododendron actually have quite a shallow root system – but they need good, strong roots to support the large plant.
One of the most important things you will need is hormone rooting powder. This will encourage the young shoot to put out those all important roots.
The best time to start rooting rhododendron is in the spring, before the plant has had a chance to put all its energy into flowers.
It will be autumn, at the earliest, that your plant will be ready to grow on outdoors after you have rooted it.
You don’t have to place your rhododendron cuttings into pots; this is an interesting article on “rhododendron layering”, which you can do if you have a large expanse of them.
What To Plant Next To Rhododendrons?
Anything you plant next to rhododendron needs to be able to gold its own. These plants are strong, vigorous growers, which can take over if unchecked!
- It is always a good idea to pick contrasting colors to plant next to your rhododendrons, otherwise they may be shaded out by colorful blooms.
- Wine roses are a great choice, as they offer a beautiful color next to your standard rhododendron.
- Small pretty ferns are a great companion to rhododendron’s flashy brilliance; these small yet colorful characters will add a lot to your garden.
- Hydrangeas are another good companion to rhododendron, as these can change color depending on the acidity of their soil, so you can experience a variety of different blooms!
- Woodland perennials are a great choice to plant next to your rhododendrons, as they favor the same conditions.
- Hostas, hellebores and pulmonaria are all good companions to rhododendron.
- Other shrubby trees can also go well next to rhododendron; things like acers are a very good bet.
Growing rhododendrons is a surprisingly easy thing, and once you’ve got your hands on a few tips from the experts, you can enjoy your forest of flowers and foliage along with the best of them!