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Growing Azaleas and Rhododendrons

Spring and fall are the best times to purchase and plant azalea and rhododendron clumps.

Botanical Name: Rhododendrons
Life Cycle: perennial landscaping shrub
Planting Time: spring or fall
Height: 1' to 12' or more
Exposure: partial shade
Soil: rich, moist, well-drained soil with an acidic pH
Hardiness: zones 5 to 8
Bloom Time: early spring to summer depending on zone
Flower: white, pink, lavender, violet-blue, yellow, orange and red
Foliage: green
Propagation: cuttings
Suggested Use: landscaping shrubs
Growing Hints: Spring and fall are the best times to purchase and plant azalea and rhododendron clumps. If you buy whole balled or burlap wrapped plants, late summer is the best time for planting. You can grow both of these plants from 4 " cuttings taken in late spring and early summer. Dip cuttings in a rooting hormone, insert them into a moist propagating mix and cover them with plastic, making a mini greenhouse supported with bent wire. Keep cuttings moist and out of direct sun until they root (weeks or months). Remove plastic, harden them off and transplant them. The best sites for azaleas and rhododendrons are sites with loose, hummus-rich soil that is evenly moist and has a pH of 4.5 to 6.5. Pruning should be done immediately after flowering. Do not plant near walnut trees.
Interesting Facts: Rhododendrons have 10 or more stamens, bell-shaped flowers, and leaves that are usually evergreen, while azaleas have 5 stamens, funnel-shaped flowers, and deciduous leaves. Gardeners see these as two different plants, but botanists lump them into one genus (group).

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