Growing Rhododendrons can handle full sun, but a bit of shade is better, and Rhododendrons like compost and good organic soil to grow in. Care for healthy Rhododendron in areas with good drainage with tips from an expert gardener in this free video on caring for trees and plants.
Hi, this is Yolanda Vanveen, and in this segment, we're going to talk about how to grow rhododendrons. Rhododendrons are really special to me, because I grew up in the Mt. Hood National Forest, and they're everywhere, so the natural environment is in high elevation, with lots of fir trees as a canopy, and they grow underneath the fir trees, at the base of meadows, so they need a little bit of sun coming in, but they like to be in the woods, so when you're growing them in your garden, make sure and always grow rhododendrons somewhere where they have really good drainage. They come in the mountains, so if you're living in an area where there's just a clay, make sure and put them in raised beds. They don't want to set in muck all the time, because they'll rot right out. They need good drainage, so rocks underneath, good compost, and potting soil, and sticks and stones. Anywhere where they're going to get a lot of good drainage, is the best thing you can do for your rhododendron, and I've found that they'll do ok in full sun, but they actually do better if they've got a little bit of shade. Where there's just a fence, where it's a little bit of shade in the afternoon, but sometimes if they're getting that hot, hot afternoon sun, and they're just baking, and they have no relief, they get sunburned a bit, so it's best to give them a little bit of shade, if you can. They like good compost and soil, so they grow in the canopies in the mountains, so they like lots of pine needles, and compost, and potting soil, and grass clippings, any kind of really good organic material, and when you're growing rhododendrons, it's good to trim them back every year, so every fall, or as soon as they're done blooming, actually pick off all the dead flowers, and that way, they'll set new buds for the next year, and when you're pruning them back, you can do them once they're done blooming, right in the summer, because they bloom in the summertime into the fall, or you can do it in the middle of winter. Just trim them back, not more than one third, so if you have a good big bush, make sure and trim it back, not more than one third at a time, so you're leaving two thirds of the plant at any one time, so it can grow for the next year. Rhododendrons are a beautiful plant, and they're just native to the northwest. They grow all over the world, and they're really a joy to have in your garden.