The rhododendron: everything you need to know
The rhododendron is a versatile garden plant – quite literally so. Bush or shrub? Or would you prefer a hedge? The choice is yours. In spring, rhododendrons dazzle in all the colours of the rainbow. In winter, they add a splash of green to your garden. Exuberant yet modest, a rhododendron requires only minimal maintenance. And yet it delights year after year. Keen to find out what makes this plant so special? How to keep it in top condition, whether to fertilise it or not, and how much water to give it? You’ll find all the answers here.
What is a rhododendron?
A rhododendron is a garden plant that originates from South and South-East Asia. This ornamental plant is hardy and easy to care for. You’ll recognise it as an evergreen bush or shrub. Its most striking feature, however, is the way it flowers abundantly. In spring, it lights up the entire garden with flowers in blue, yellow, lilac, orange, purple, pink or white. Some varieties even have bi-coloured flowers.
Its colour is not the only thing that makes a rhododendron stand out; it also steals the show with its height. Some varieties grow up to three metres tall! Talk about an eye-catcher.
How to care for a rhododendron
- Water: not too wet, not too dry. Ensure the soil remains moist but avoid waterlogging.
- Shade or semi-shade. Do not plant your rhododendron in the full sun, but don’t put it in too dark a spot either.
- Ideal soil. A rhododendron does not require much care. But it will only thrive in the right soil: a moist, humus-rich acidic soil.
- Cut off dead flowers. Do this carefully to avoid damaging the young flower buds.
- Use the right compost. Rhododendron are very robust but also appreciate a little assistance. Ask the staff in your local garden centre for specific compost suitable for rhododendrons.
Characteristics of a rhododendron
- The rhododendron is an evergreen shrub. Because it is hardy, it provides a welcome splash of green to your garden, even in winter.
- Rhododendrons bloom abundantly in spring. Their magnificent flowers put on a wonderful show in a range of colours – from purple, pink, white, lilac, orange and yellow to every conceivable shade of red. Some varieties even have bi-coloured blooms.
- Rhododendrons have different flowering times. They generally bloom from March to June for a period of three to four weeks.
- This shrub has a fairly shallow root structure, which means rhododendrons are unable to take up water from deep underground.
- Rhododendrons grow between 20-30 centimetres per year. Hortinno’s XXL and Red Devil rhododendrons grow to a height of around two metres. Great for privacy!
- Rhododendrons prefer acidic soil and grow best in light shade to semi-shade.
- Rhododendrons can survive dry periods, on one condition: good soil is essential. They should also be watered from time to time. Especially after a rhododendron has been planted, it should be watered regularly to prevent it from drying out.
What makes a Hortinno rhododendron so exceptional?
- Hortinno’s XXL rhododendron is a real eye-catcher with extra-large, two-tone clusters of flowers that are white with a dark-pink border. A one of a kind.
- The Red Devil rhododendron is a champion for any garden. Its yellow stamens and red leaves with a black border make it a real looker.
Tips & FAQs
How many varieties of rhododendrons exist?
More than 1,000 varieties in a range of sizes, shapes and colours.
How do you protect a rhododendron in winter?
Rhododendrons are hardy but always appreciate a little help.
How tall does a rhododendron grow?
A rhododendron can grow to a height of more than three metres! Hard to miss, in other words.
What is the optimal planting distance between rhododendrons?
The larger the leaf, the more space you need to provide. Allow for at least 1 m2 per bush.
How quickly do rhododendrons grow?
A rhododendron grows an average of 20 to 30 cm per year.
What is the flowering time and flowering period of a rhododendron?
Rhododendrons look their best in spring.
What does a rhododendron leaf look like?
Both in winter and summer, rhododendrons sport healthy green leaves.
Which fertilizer should you use for rhododendrons?
Fertilizer enriched with magnesium or iron.
My rhododendron has finished flowering: what should I do?
Remove its dead flowers as soon as possible.