Rhododendrons come in many shapes and sizes and are known for their vibrant floral displays. Dora amateus rhododendrons are a dwarf, hybrid rhododendron. Two common types are Purple Gem and Moerheim, which both put out small, purple flowers with shiny green leaves that turn deep red in the winter. Dwarf rhododendrons are hardy plants that can survive in temperatures as low as negative 5 degrees Fahrenheit. Most plants grow 3 to 4 feet tall and are best planted in springtime.
Choose the ideal location for your dwarf rhododendron. Find an area with 6 or more hours of sunlight a day that is lightly shaded. Rhododendrons prefer well-draining soil with a pH between 5.0 and 6.0. If located in a particularly cold area, look for an area on the northern side of a building or slope.
Amend soil by adding equal parts loam, coarse sand and ground oak leaves. Mix together thoroughly.
Dig a hole as deep as the container and twice as wide.
Plant root ball slightly higher than it was growing in the container, and cover with dirt.
Mulch your dwarf rhododendron with a 2-inch layer of wood chips to keep the soil cool and moist.
Water immediately after planting. Keep your rhododendron well-watered every 2 or 3 days, until fully established.
Fertilize in early spring with cottonseed meal or a fertilizer made for plants that grow well in acidic soil.