Growing Rhododendrons and Azaleas

Gold Post Medal for All Time! 858 Posts
March 16, 2006
Rhododendrons & Azaleas
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 Color: white, pink, lavender, violet-blue, yellow, orange and red
Foliage Color: 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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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 858 Posts
February 13, 2006

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...

pink azaleas

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4 Questions

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May 26, 2007

Last year in early April, we bought a large ranch style home in the countryside outside Molalla in Oregon. It has 40 acres and the area around the house is wooded. We have a horseshoe drive in front of the house which is lined with very old large beautiful rhodies (rhododendrons).

This year (with nothing being done to them last year.) their blooms were much later with very spindly branches and the small leaf rhodies, none at all. The small leaf ones have a leaf blight of some kind. The two spindly one are alone in the yard separate. The ones in the drive kind of all run together. I have no way to send a photo. Please HELP! What do I do to save my once lovely drive?

Hardiness Zone: 8b


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May 27, 20070 found this helpful

Here's a good link for diagnosing what's wrong with your rhodies:

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May 29, 20070 found this helpful

Zone 8 seems kind of warm for rhodies... But you can always cut them back to about 12 inches high and let them regrow. If they don't send out new growth, then they were probably beyond repair.

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By Syd (Guest Post)
May 30, 20070 found this helpful

We had one by our back porch that was quite old and decided to cut it down ... well it came back in and proliferated. Give it a shot!

Syd's 2¢

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April 7, 2015

My rhododendron "Bambino" has few leaves and they are scraggly. It has lovely blooms, but looks "ill". What can I do to improve its leaf growth?

By Jack from Chilliwack


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 105 Posts
November 16, 20170 found this helpful

You are going to need to dig around the roots and loosen the dirt. Then give this poor plant some good fertilizer to nurse it back to health.

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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
November 17, 20170 found this helpful

Rhododendrons and other acid loving plants need special fertilizer. Go to any garden store.

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