Rhododendrons are surface-rooting plants. In case you intend to weed around them, don’t go digging around with a hoe or a fork or you might damage the feeding roots. Don’t get obsessive about tidying up fallen leaves – they provide the perfect mulch for the rhododendron and add nutrients to the soil.

Too warm and/or too dry and your rhododendron will need extra mulch like pea straw to retain moisture. Dampen the soil first and then mulch.If you are going to mulch, don’t just chuck on any old thing. Mushroom compost, for example, is alkaline and rhodos like acid soil, so that’s out. Don’t use anything that depletes the soil of nitrogen as it decomposes. Keep the plant stem clear or collar rot might result.

Rhododendrons like good soil but they’re not especially demanding in that regard and shouldn’t need feeding unless the soil is thin and poor. If it is, add generous amounts of well-rotted compost before planting.

Rhododendrons are from climates without blazing summer days, so it’s a good idea to plant under the canopy of suitable shade trees or on the shady side of the house.

If you have made a positive decision on flowering this year, deadhead them when they’re done by carefully removing the flower head at the base, taking care not to remove or damage the growth buds at the base of the flower shoot. Young, newly planted or transplanted bushes are especially worth deadheading.

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