Amazing azaleas and rhododendrons

John Shannon. INLT 13-802-CON
John Shannon. INLT 13-802-CON

One of the most reliable plants to bloom at this time of year is the rhododendron and its close relative the azalea.

Some of the early flowering varieties can show bloom in mid March right through to the late summer varieties flowering in June. So with careful choice you can have flowers from March to June.

At this time of the year many of the best varieties will be in flower now at Inver Garden Centre. Obviously planting the earlier varieties there can be some frost damage, as there was this year. Where the plant is damaged by frost, remove the damaged foliage and the plant will grow away once again.

Once you have chosen your plant, either by the variety name or the colour of the flower, check the label attached to the plant for the ultimate height.

Most grow between 60-90cm but some rhododendrons can go up to 1.5m over a number of years. The very important item when planting azaleas or rhododendrons is the compost. Always use ericaceous compost (lime free), never use an ordinary compost. If lime is present this can stop the plant taking up food and nutrients for survival.

During the summer, feed the plants with Miracle-Gro azalea, camellia and rhododendron plant food. Use every three-four weeks up to early September; this is particularly important when the plants are in pots.

Never allow the plants to dry out during the summer months, as this is the period when the plant is forming the new buds for next year. Enjoy the show that rhododendrons and azaleas can give. They are also tolerant of shady conditions.

For more information contact Inver Garden Centre.