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How to Care for a Rhododendron

By Karen Dietzius

Rhododendrons are flowering evergreen shrubs that are a member of the Ericaceae family, which also includes popular plants such as heathers, cranberries and blueberries. Rhododendrons typically bloom from March through May, and require a slightly acidic soil with a pH of about 4.5 to 5.5. Rhododendrons are a beautiful addition to landscaping with their large green leaves and showy flowers, but they also do well in pots.

Water your rhododendron well, especially during the summer. Rhododendrons have shallow roots and dry out quickly. Never allow the soil to completely dry out.

Mist the foliage when the temperature is above 95 degrees F.

Apply a coarse mulch of organic matter (such as leaves, pine needles or bark). Maintain the mulch all year to conserve moisture for your rhododendron. The soil should be high in organic matter, and well-draining with good aeration.

Fertilize your plant in late winter or early spring with a fertilizer designed for acid-loving plants.

Protect your plant from winds in the winter if you live in a northern climate. Cover the rhododendron with burlap, or some other wind barrier.

Keep your plant in partial shade, especially in hot, dry areas. Otherwise, they should at least receive shade in the afternoon.

Remove flower clusters from large, flowered plants at the end of the blooming season. For smaller, flowered plants, it is not necessary to dead-head, although this may cause the plant to flower less during the next season.


Things You Will Need

  • Mulch
  • Fertilizer
  • Burlap

About the Author


Based in Baltimore, Md., Karen Dietzius has been a professional writer and editor since 2005. She has been published on various websites and edited scripts for "A Work In Progress," an inspirational radio drama.