How to Get Rhododendrons to Bloom


There are dozens of varieties of rhododendrons available. It's a very popular flowering shrub in the United States because of its showy clusters of flowers. They are shaped like trumpets and come in many colors including yellows, pinks, burgundies and peach. Blooms appear annually in early to midspring. The plant's leaves are glossy, green and tough. Rhododendrons prefer mild, humid climates. It might take some extra attention and care to get rhododendrons to bloom as profusely as possible.

Step 1

Plant rhododendrons in acidic, loamy soil with a pH of 5.0 or 5.5. Buy a pH test kit from a nursery or garden center to determine whether you have acceptable soil.

Step 2

Add 1.2 oz of ground rock sulfur per square yard to sandy soil in order to lower the pH by 1 point and make it more acidic. Add 3.6 oz per square yard for other soil types. You can also use wood chips, composted leaves or sawdust.

Step 3

Select a planting spot that has filtered bright light or early morning sun. This will allow for the best growing conditions. Some shade in the afternoon is OK, but the rhododendrons don't bloom well in deep shade.

Step 4

Care for rhododendrons by keeping the soil evenly moist but well-drained. The plant doesn't grow well in standing pools of water. Add water consistently, especially during the first year, to make sure the plant blooms. The root ball must be kept moist.

Step 5

Pick off dead blooms in the late spring. Snap the flower clusters off with your gloved fingers. Remove dead or damaged branches as soon as you spot them.

Step 6

Apply a small amount of fertilizer made for rhododendrons and azaleas around the base of the bush in the spring time. Don't feed the plants after June.

Step 7

Cut the rhododendron down to the ground if you can't get it to bloom. Use pruning shears to cut each shoot and branch close to the soil. The plant will grow again.

Things You'll Need

  • Soil pH test kit
  • Ground rock sulfur or wood chips, composted leaves or sawdust
  • Water
  • Gloves
  • Fertilizer
  • Pruning shears


  • Demesne
  • The Garden Helper
Keywords: rhododendrons, bloom rhododendrons, care for rhododendrons

About this Author

Kelly Shetsky has been a broadcast journalist for more than ten years, researching, writing, producing and reporting daily on many topics. In addition, she writes for several websites, specializing in medical, health and fitness, arts and entertainment, travel and business-related topics. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from Marist College.