How to Transplant Rhododendrons

Written by kathryn hatter
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How to Transplant Rhododendrons
Rhododendron (© reynald lassire -

Rhododendrons can grow to be very large over time. It is possible to transplant even large rhododendrons and help them to thrive in a new location. Do not transplant rhododendrons during extremely hot months, however. Instead, transplant rhododendrons in the spring in cooler climates and in the fall in warmer climates. Using the proper techniques for transplanting rhododendrons will help ensure the health and vibrancy of rhododendron plants for many years to come.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Shovel
  • Compost (optional)
  • Cart or Tarp
  • Water

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  1. 1

    Prepare the new planting area before digging the rhododendron up. According to the American Rhododendron Society, rhododendrons prefer a light soil with good drainage. Add compost to improve the soil, if necessary. Dig a hole that is just slightly larger than the existing roots of the rhododendron.

  2. 2

    Dig the root ball up carefully. Typically, a rhododendron grows wide and shallow. Try to include as much of the root system as possible in the root ball.

  3. 3

    Place the root ball carefully onto a tarp or a cart to transport the rhododendron to the new location.

  4. 4

    Loosen some of the small roots on the outside of the root ball before placing the root ball into the new hole. This will enable these roots to grow into the soil of the new hole.

  5. 5

    Place the top of the root ball so that it is level with the surrounding ground. Fill in the hole firmly with soil.

  6. 6

    Water the newly transplanted rhododendron often because the plant gets its moisture almost completely from the root ball.

Tips and warnings

  • You may not be able to move rhododendrons that are located close to trees or other shrubs. This is especially true if rhododendrons and other plants have been growing near each other for many years because the roots systems may be growing together.
  • Pay attention to the planting depth. Planting a rhododendron too deeply may damage the plant.

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