With more than 3,000 varieties ranging from 8 inches to 20 feet tall, the rhododendron shrub offers diverse options for the home gardener. Small rhododendrons grow well in containers while larger specimens work well as hedges or privacy screens. Whether you're working with a container-grown rhododendron or a ground plant, replant the bush in the spring, when frost danger passes, or in the fall, when the summer heat drops off. Work on an overcast day to avoid stressing the plant with bright light or heat.
Replanting Container Rhododendrons
Chose a container one size larger than the one currently holding your rhododendron and one that has drainage holes at the bottom. Fill the container about halfway with a well-balanced potting mix.
Grasp the rhododendron by its trunk and pull it from the container.
Break apart the clods of soil enmeshed in the rootball. Unwind circled or tangled roots. Trim broken roots with clippers. Place the rhododendron in the new container at the same level as it was planted in the original container.
Hold the shrub's trunk straight and fill in the hole with soil. Gently firm the soil around the roots and trunk of the rhododendron. Add soil to 1/2 or 1 inch below the lip of the container.
Water the newly replanted bush until it flows out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the container.
Replanting in the Ground
Saturate the rhododendron with water for two to three days before you plan to move it to help loosen the roots' connection to the soil.
Dig a hole twice as large as the rhododendron's rootball.
Dig up the rhododendron bush. Dig at a distance twice as large as the rootball and move in toward the rootball slowly. Dig until you've gathered the roots into a soil ball below the bush.
Pull up on the trunk to lift the rhododendron from the ground. Carry it to the new site. Break apart the soil surrounding the rootball and untangle the roots. Clip the ends of any roots that appear bruised or unhealthy. Set the bush in the hole at the same depth as it was before.
Fill in the hole with soil. Saturate the soil with water.
About this Author
Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.