Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Rhododendrons are amongst the most beautiful of all flowering plants. There are more than 800 species and thousands of cultivated varieties. The range of flower colours and shapes is truly astonishing. They are nothing more than spectacular trusses of bells, some of them almost waxy, and they are remarkably easy to grow under the right conditions.

Planting a new rhododendron like Rhododendron ‘Bruce Brechtbill’ is extremely easy. Rhododendrons have a very fine fibrous root system that is quite compact and does not need disturbing before planting. Tease the base gently if necessary. No fertiliser should be used in the planting hole and the root ball should be placed in the hole so that the surrounding soil is level with the soil at the base of the stem. If the stem is buried beneath the soil it can go mouldy and rot. Once planted the soil should be covered with mulch, once again keeping it away from the stem. Spread a handful of blood and bone around the plant, covering it with a layer of coir to seal it and water in well. Seeing how luxuriantly these plants are growing, it is surprising to learn how low their nutritional needs are.

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