The rhododendrons are blooming now. Roses, dahlias, and rhododendrons are plants or shrubs that are pretty “loudmouthed” plants in the garden. They come in bright, brilliant color, has large flowers and generally making a lot out of themselves.
Rhododendrons are blooming at a time when most tulips and narcissus have finished their flowering, but the annuals and the roses and has not yet started their big show off. They fill a quiet moment in the garden with crazy colors if you want. Naturally, there are more quite subtle and silent kinds, but it is unlikely therefore you choose rhododendron.
Another plus with rhododendron is that there are a lot of great evergreen varieties with beautiful, glossy foliage that screens and whims and are extremely decorative at the same time.
Don’t forget that these plants need acidic soil Meaning that if you want to have a rhododendron in the garden it is best that you create a separate bed where you can avoid to lime the soil and you can cultivate a more acidic soil type. You can buy special peat mixes for the acid soil plants, or you can mix in pine needles from the Christmas tree from last year. I’ve done that very successfully. Cut the branches of the Christmas tree. Add branches to a pile in a corner of the garden, and gather the dry needles after they have sprinkled down trough the branches. Are you lucky enough to own a shredder you can just grind up all the dried evergreens you have and make it a nice additive for your acid loving plants. You often find acid oil naturally in pine needle fields and in boggy terrain.
- The rhododendrons can very roughly be divided into two types: deciduous (Azalea) and evergreen sorts.
- Evergreen, small leaved varieties are the most frost hardy ones.
- Rhododendrons want a humus-rich soil, evenly moist, sheltered growing place with little wind, often in half-shadow. The soil must be toward the acidic side (pH 3.5–5,5). The deciduous varieties thrive happily in more sunny areas.
- Make sure that the rhododendrons remain at the same height above the earth as when they stood in the container when you bought them. They are very sensitive to be planted too deep. Then they will seem to mope forever or may die.
- Other plants that thrive / tolerates acidic soil are: Magnolia (Usually flowers earlier than rhododendrons), all heather types, willow, welsh poppy, blueberry bushes, and most of the conifers.