How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Rhododendrons and Azaleas

Pink Rhododendron.

A tree that the wasps love…

Elen DelSignore


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Rhododendrons and azaleas, both from the genus Rhododendron, have long been mainstays of late spring because of their spectacular clusters of showy blooms—plus, large green leaves that often stay green through winter.

The flowers are usually tubular-, funnel-, or bell-shaped—and often fragrant. The leaves of the smaller azalea are usually pointed and narrow; the leaves of the rhododendron are generally large and leathery.

These shrubs prefer climates with adequate rainfall and moist summers. The two main azalea groups, evergreen and deciduous (varieties that drop their leaves in the fall) can be found in nearly every part of North America, from the frosty Canadian plains to tropical Florida. The rhododendron types are fussier, preferring environments where it is neither too hot nor too cold (Zones 5 to 8). They need a certain amount of chilling to develop strong flower buds.

With thousands of varieties, there are rhododendrons and azaleas for just about every landscape situation. There are low-growing ground cover azaleas, plants that grow from 1 to 2 feet, as well as plants that can grow up to 25 feet tall. They come in many flower colors, including pink, red, white, yellow, and purple. Though most plants flower in the spring, there are also summer-blooming varieties that add color and charm to the garden.  

Explore more tips for growing the best varieties of rhododendrons and azaleas.


  • Plant in spring or early fall.
  • Most large-leafed varieties require dappled shade; avoid deep shade or full sun. A sunny spot that receives a few hours of shade is perfect.
  • Soil should be well-drained, humus-rich, moist, and acidic (pH 4.5–6).  
  • Amend planting areas with compost, peat moss, or a substitute, only if your soil is poor. Learn more about soil amendments and preparing soil for planting.
  • Azaleas and rhododendrons have shallow root systems and need moist soil and mulch to keep them from drying out.
  • When shopping for plants, pay attention to when they flower. Early varieties can blossom in March, late ones into July or even the fall.
  • Buy plants that are a deep green (not yellowed), not wilted, and well watered. Check the soil in the container with your finger and avoid plants that are bone dry.
  • Space plants 2 to 6 feet apart. Dig a hole as deep as the root ball and 2 times as wide. 
  • Set new plants so that their top roots are at soil level or slightly below. If you plant them any deeper, the roots may rot.
  • Fill the hole half full with soil, then water it well to settle the soil before filling with remainder of soil.


  • Mulch plants every spring with 2 to 5 inches of pine bark chips or pine needles to protect shallow roots, retain soil moisture, and keep the soil damp. A lack of water reduces flower-bud formation. (Keep mulch a few inches away from the trunk.)
  • Fertilize azaleas and rhododendrons sparingly and only when flower buds swell in the early spring, even if they are fall bloomers. Heavy applications of fertilizer will burn the plants.
  • Water plants during the summer if rainfall is less than 1 inch per week.
  • After flowering, deadhead where practical, to promote vegetative growth rather than seed production. Remove dead flowers from rhododendrons carefully; next year’s buds are just under the old heads.
  • In regions with severe winters, wrap evergreen rhododendrons with burlap in the fall.
  • Transplant azaleas and rhododendrons whenever the ground is not frozen or waterlogged.

Warm-Weather Advisory (Zones 7 to 11)

  • If your weather heats to above 90°F in spring, avoid white-flowered azaleas. Their thin petals shatter in the heat.
  • Plant in a site that receives afternoon shade, especially in hot areas. In tropical zones, azaleas will bloom in full shade.
  • Buy plants in 3-gallon cans rather than 1-gallon cans. They’re a better bargain in hot climates. Small plants, with their fewer roots, struggle in the hot late spring and summer.

Cold-Zone Reminders (Zones 3 to 6)

  • Plant in full sun to increase flowers and avoid mildew problems. Shrubs need a minimum of 6 hours of full sun daily.
  • Plant on the sheltered side of a windbreak. If subjected to cold, dry winds, their leaves and buds dry out and die.


  • In general, do not prune spring-flowering shrubs such as azaleas and rhododendrons. If you need to reduce height, prune after flowering in the spring.
  • Otherwise, just remove dead, damaged, or diseased branches anytime. 
  • On young and old plants, simply snap off spent flower stalks by bending them over until they break away from their stems. Be careful not to damage growth buds at the base of each flower stalk.


  • Susceptible to vine weevil, whiteflies, leafhoppers, lacebugs, scale insects, caterpillars, aphids, powdery mildew, bud blast, rust, leafy gall, petal blight.
  • If soil is not sufficiently acidic, root rot and lime-induced chlorosis could occur.

Recommended Varieties

Wit & Wisdom

The glittering leaves of the rhododendrons
Balance and vibrate in the cool air;
While in the sky above them
White clouds chase each other
–John Gould Fletcher

Reader Comments

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Inherited it, as a tree, 35 yrs ago. Too tall to nip off the buds.
Just cut out lots of dead branches trailing lower down.
Can I prune it somehow to reduce the height or just leave it to do its thing?

Growing new plants from branches?

I accidentally broke off a major branch of my favorite rhody while laying mulch down. I put it in a bucket of water thinking I may be able to save it to create a new plant. It has been in the bucket now for almost a week and looks lovely so far. Is this possible? If so, do I leave it in water for a while then try to plant it into a container? I think I am wishing for the best here. Any comments back are welcomed. Thank you.

how to root a rhodo

You might be able to save it, Susie: You will need rooting powder, available at most nurseries and supply stores. Trim the broken end by removing a couple inches of bark. Dampen the end (it’s good that the piece is in water!) and dip the end into the rooting powder, then make a hole in a container of moistened potting medium (or ½ portion peat, ¼ portion perlite, and ¼ portion sand), and plant it. Firm the “soil” around the plant. Put the entire thing into a clean plastic bag, secure it at the top and set it in an area that gets light but not direct sun. Look into the bag occasionally to be sure that mold or the like has not set it (if so, spray it with a fungicide). The rooting process will take three to four months or so. After a couple of months you can gently nudge the plant to see if it seems to have “grabbed” the soil (with roots!). Water as needed when you take a peek.

Old Rhododendron

I have an old rhododendron that, frankly, has grown too big for the spot that it is in. For many years it bloomed satisfactorily but last year the blooms were sparse and this year none at all. I looked at the possibility of pruning it but the leaves are all on the outside and pruning would leave nothing but bare wood. But then I noticed some new breaks at the base. So could I remove all of the old branches and let the new breaks develop into a "new" plant? Also, what is your advice about fertilizing in this situation. Thanks for the help.

reduce the rhodo?

There are several reasons why plants do not bloom. Re rhodos in particular:

• were they nipped by frost?

• are they too dry/lacking moisture?

• is it getting enough light? Rhodos need a balance of light and shade (there is no specific formula) and cool feet, which is to say they do not like a place where the ground under them gets too warm.

We suggest you also read the care and pruning tips above. You could prune this tree down to the new growth but it behooves you to consider the previous and above before doing anything drastic…if you want to keep the plant. Of course you could prune it a little.

As for fertilizer, these plants like acidic soil; check your soil’s pH. It can change over time and perhaps has slipped out of range (see above). Amend as needed. And, spread add aged manure under it (wide, not just at the stem, so it affects the shallow roots) in the fall or not at all—as the saying goes.

We hope this helps!

sparse rhododendron

My rhododendron flower, but are very sparse looking. Instead of looking lush and full like others I see, mine just look sad. Any advice?

rhodo slow to go

An initial consideration for almost any failure to thrive is soil quality and pH. Rhododendrons and azaleas prefer acidic soil. That’s another way of describing the pH, and pH can be checked with an inexpensive soil tester. A good nurseryman/woman or your local extensive service can help you with that, too.
Rhodos and azaleas also like organic material in the soil and organic mulches on top. Give the plants a good dose of aged manure in late fall (or not al all). See more advice above about the conditions that enable rhodos to bloom at their best.

We hope this helps!

Warm Fall and Rhody budded, and buds still remain.

After our extremely warm Fall, my Rhody budded again. Weather got cold, and this Spring, buds still remain, but it is doing nothing. Some leaves around the bottom are turning brown around the edges. It was planted a year ago. Should I remove the buds? Don't know what I should do with it.

No blooms on Rhododendrum

I took a piece of my rododendrum and planted in another part of my yard. It has been five or six years, it is growing well but we have not had any flowers on it. Possible problems?

why rhodos are not blooming ...ever

There are a number of reasons why rhodos do not bloom.

• not enough light or too much light

• too much fertilizer (especially too much nitrogen, which promotes foliage)

• the age of the plant

• weather: cold weather can kill buds

• the variety: if it came form the seed of a hybrid plant, it will never produce (or produce poor) flowers.

• planted too deep or has soil mounded beneath it. Roots are shallow and they need air; light mulch is adequate, once the plant is set.

• You might also check the pH of the soil (do a test). See above for advice on that.

We hope this helps!


Nursery rhododendron growing to one side - how to plant it.

Hello - I have a nursery rhododendron growing to one side that must have favored growing towards the sun when on display. I'm planting it on front of my home and I'm thinking of planting the side with more leaves facing the home and letting the side with less blooms face out towards the sun to promote growth on that side to have a more symmetrical plant - Good idea? /Bad idea? Suggestions? Thanks, Gordon

sun-facing rhododendron

One the face of it, Gordon, your idea sounds reasonable. However, we would also consider making a call to the nursery from which you purchased it. (It sounds like a recent purchase.) They may remember you and/or the plant and be able to give you advice. Some rhododendrons lean toward the shade…you want to be sure of your plant’s preference.

leaves are drooping after a good start and many buds

I have a small rhododendron in pot.
Planted last year when it flowered profusely.
This year it started off well, many buds but suddenly the leaves have drooped and the buds are looking a little yellow. It is a species (snow ??) which can grow in any type of soil according to the info on the plant. I have been watering it a lot and we have hard water here. Could that be the problem.
Help please.

hard water harm

Hard water could be the source of the problem. High alkalinity is common in hard water, and rhododendrons like acid, quite the opposite of alkalinity. Have your water tested for its pH, and help the plants with fertilizer (get something specifically for acid-loving plants, such as rhodos and azaleas). Your comment about “any type of soil” is a little suspect here, too, though. Rhodos like acidic soil, so you should test it, too. Peat moss will help to add acidity to the soil (and retain moisture) and aged manure (mixed in in the fall, or not at all!) will help, too. For more on these details and others, see above.

green fungus on stalks

I notices a green fungus? mold? on the stalks of the plant. It is in full bloom but I have never seen this before. Any suggestions?

My rhododendron

I planted my rhododendron over a year ago
and it flowered last Spring but this year it has
brown spots on some of the leaves and all the
rest have turned yellow. I also only had one flower.
What is the problem?

rhododendron did not bloom

It’s normal for a rhododendron to have some brown leaves and buds after a severe winter. Don’t cut back to the ground. If there is still some green there is hope. If the buds are brown, they are frost damaged and can be left or removed. When removing buds, try not to damage any new growth.

Rhododendron never got bigger

I planted 3 small Rhododendrons near the foundation of my home four years ago. They are green and all get a few flowers but they have stayed as small as they were when I planted them. Is there a way to encourage them to grow a bit bigger? We tried plant food in the spring but it didn't seem to help with the size.

Stunted Rhododendrons

A number of issues can cause small or stunted rhododendrons, so it’s hard to know what could be causing yours to be small. If you suspect your rhododendrons are drying out too much, try adding a layer of mulch and compost, which will feed and insulate roots. Rhododendrons like partial shade, but too much shade can inhibit growth. They also enjoy a more acidic soil, so try working in some more acidic soil amendments

use to be beautiful....

Hi I have a rhododendron planted at the corner of my house. The last few years it was beautiful. This year it was green and plush but suddenly it has turned all brown and looks dead? Any idea what could have happened to it?


Same is happening to mine, not sure whether to leave it and hope, or remove it from the ground.

Brown rhoodendron

If your rhododendron has brown leaves, it may be due to winter damage. Remove the dead leaves. It should come back with late spring growth. You can also treat winter-damaged rhododendrons with a fertilizer formulated for them, such as Holly-Tone.

If you think, however, your rhodey is dead, do the scratch test. Scratch the bark on dead-looking branches with your fingernail. If there is green wood underneath, the branch is still alive. If it’s brown underneath, the branch is dead and you can prune it off. If the plant is completely dead, it needs to be removed.

Curling leaves on my rhododendron

Whilst there are buds on my rhododendron the leaves have gone into a deep curl. Is there a remedy to correct this?

leaves on rhododendron are curled up

Leaf curl often happens when a fungus is present. It could be azalea gall (to which rhododendrons are also susceptible). Gall is a fungus spread by rain. It normally occurs during cool, wet weather. If this is gall, you can pick it off by hand; fungicides can be applied. See your local organic nursery supply store. 

Rhododendren with white cone shaped flowers

My rhododendron do not have colorful pink flowers. I have a problem in that individual branches are getting covered with a white film. Then the leaves turn brown and the branch is dead. I've been cutting out these dead branches. But my bushes now have large bare spots. With what should I treat them? Thank you.


we took a new shoot from an old rhodoendron and its about a foot high and looks very healthy but is covered in tiny green flowers what do we do with this plant will it bear normal flowers not sure

rhododendron not blooming

Most rhododendrons take 2 to 3 years to bloom from a rooted cutting unless forced. Some take longer and some bloom sooner. 


I need to see pics of what the plant looks like in the winter - can you help?

Help with plants

I have two azalea plants that are not showing any sign of life. Is there a change that if I take them down to the ground they may come back? Am I looking at replacing two plants?

lifeless plants

It’s hard to know exactly what’s going on here. Our initial consideration would be soil quality and the pH value of it; see above in “Planting” for more details. (Notice the moisture and sun requirements, too.) Poor/improper soil is the —er—root cause of many plant problems. Cutting these down will not make any difference if they are not healthy now. And replacing them with two is unlikely to result in the outcome you want if you do not check and/or address the soil conditions. Putting different plants in this same space is not the answer either; each plant has particular needs (yes, some needs are common to many plants, but speaking in generalities here, you can not bank on different plants being the solution).

Sorry we do not have better news. The good news is that this situation is “fixable” is you test your soil and amend as needed.

autumn twist azalea

planted three encore autumn twist azaleas side by side a few weeks ago. the one in the middle is still green robust, but one of them on the opposite of it is questionable. one has brown leaves that have dried and curled, but I scratched the stems a little to check if they are still green, and they are. Is that normal?

"new" twist on a new azalea

Hi, Brad, It certainly does not sound normal, especially if you have a healthy plant to compare it to. You do not say where you are geographically, but we presume somewhere south, somewhere where there is no “winter,” because you were planting weeks ago. But just in case you are not, that—the early planting—may be part of the problem. Your plant may be suffering from “winter injury”—extreme temperature fluctuations, excess dryness (evaporation from the leaves, not just at the root) at a time when the plant is not prepared to take up water/moisture because the ground is still frozen or moisture is unavailable to the roots. Newly planted/transplanted shrubs are susceptible to this.

It’s also possible that, strange as it may seem, the conditions in the soil were different from the one plant.

Since it sounds like you planted recently and, we’re guessing, purchased the plants recently, you might consult the nursery/source from which you got it. If not too much time has passed, they might replace it. Bring picture, or bring the plant, to them (with your receipt) and see what they say.

We hope this helps!

autumn twist azalea.

winston salem, nc its believed to be winter damage. planted in january, and it got really cold and snowed right after i planted the problem plant. currently stems are still very green when scratched. Will probably leaf out when there is a steady warm as the seasons progress.

how deep should oak leaves be around roots of mature rhodos,

have annual argument with lawn mower fellow; he thinks the more leaves under the rhodos the better almost 4 feet, easier for him to blow leaves under shrubs than take them away,
thanks for help

Leaves Under Rhododendron

While leaving a thick layer of leaves under trees and shrubs can provide a nice winter mulch, 4 feet is too much of a good thing! About a foot is all that is needed to reap the benefits. When the pile gets so high as to cover crowns and trunks, it can potentially lead to rot as the leaves get wet with winter weather. Also, such a high pile provides habitat for undesirable critters such as rats. You are right … he should be taking some of the leaves away.

What would be the cause of an

What would be the cause of an outbreak of white mushy globules on the wood and branches of a pink flowering rhododendron? The shrub is 30+ years old and at least 15 foot tall, it has not been looked after by previous owner for many years, it gets morning sunshine but is protected from harsh afternoon sun. Many thanks, Pam

Hi, Pam, This sounds like

Hi, Pam, This sounds like azalea gall (to which rhododendrons are also susceptible). Gall is a fungus, spread by rain. It normally occurs during cool, wet weather. If this is gall, you can pick it off by hand; fungicides can be applied. See you local organic nursery supply store. You did not mention the leafs; these typically curl up when fungus is present.

By the way, even though the plant gets a fair amount of sun, its bed could retain dampness, which can be a contributing factor.

We suggest, if possible, you take a sample of the globules and a photo of the plant to your local nursery. They may be able to identify this in a jiffy.
And remember, too: This is a good time to spread some aged manure and compost under the shrub. As the saying goes: “in the fall or not at all.” Stir up the existing soil and work the new matter it, if you do this—but be gentle. Rhodo roots tend to be shallow.

We hope this helps.

Verticillium Wilt

Many thanks for your reply concerning my ailing plant. It would appear that the only remedy is to throw away the deceased rhododendron, which is a great pity, it was a beautiful flowering plant and only a year old. But thanks again for your advice.

Flowering Rhododedron

Hi, we have a white Rhodo which we had to move in April because of building work, since the move it has thrived and has beautiful green healthy leaves and has grown about 4 inches, it is also flowering, my question is, should it be flowering at this time of year and will it affect the flowering of it for next year?, the buds on it at the moment look really strong and healthy!! Great site.

Flowering Rhodie

It could be blooming now because it was delayed from doing so in the spring during the transplant. As long as it remains healthy and it has been able to reestablish a good root zone, there is no reason to think next year’s blooms won’t be just as enjoyable.

Rhododendron bud forming in Ocw

Is this normal ? Just worried it might start flowering.

Droopy rhododendron leaves and flowers not fully blooming.

Despite applying a compost recommended for rhododendron and ensuring that the soil is acidic, the leaves continue to droop and die.

Verticillium Wilt

Your shrubs could have Verticillium Wilt, which is a disease caused by fungal spores in the soil. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to get rid of. The general recommendation is to take out the plant once it succumbs, dig out as much of the soil as is feasible, replace it with clean soil, and replant with a species not susceptible to the disease (not another Rhododendron).

Labrador Tea (From the Rhododendron Bush)

I don't have a question at the moment but wanted to thank you for your site and the thorough information you provide (and of course, the gorgeous pictures).
I am very interested in herbal teas and Labrador Tea (from the rhododendron bush) is one of them. A friend asked me to find out the best information possible on growing rhododendron so that she can harvest her own leaves. I came upon this gem and have forwarded her the link. I will certainly be back often. Thanks again!

Thank You Too

Well thank you very much. It is gratifying to know we can help. Good luck with all of your gardening endeavors! And let us know if your friend has success.

Potted Azalea

If it doesn’t seem root-bound or stressed, you can leave it in the pot until spring, but keep it outside in a protected area (like up against the house) and put a thick layer of much around its crown. The main thing is to let it experience the cold so it goes fully dormant.

Azalea plant

I have azalea plant in the pot it came in. I've had it since February. I am moving to NH and want to plant it there. Should I keep in pot till spring or can I plant in mid November? Plant has special meaning. Thank you

Blackeyed Susans and Purple Rhododendrons

This May of 2016 I planted 1-Rhododendron and 3 Blackeyed Susans. The Blackeyed Susans are in front of the Rhododendron. The Rhododendron stopped flowering by July and the petals dried up. Then the Blackeyed Susans started to flower,grew both in height and width, and now block out the Rhododendron. Since this is the first year for the plants, how do I prune,thin or cut back both plants to get ready for next year growing season. Also,should I fertilize them now and what type of fertilizer

Rhododendrons and Black-eyed Susans

Hi Bob,

Don’t prune the rhodie; it needs to get established. As for the black-eyed Susans, they are perennials and should be cut back to the ground when they die off for the season (typically late fall). Ultimately, the shrub will outsize the perennials and you will have a nice underplanting. The fertilizing season is winding down so don’t worry about that until spring. Look for slow-release granular fertilizers formulated for rhododendrons.


Can you prune the azaleas all the way back?

Pruning Azaleas

Azaleas look best when pruned consistently and minimally every day (removing dead limbs). However, if your azalea is overgrown, yes, you can prune azaleas down to about 1 foot in height.

I have had three

I have had three rhododendrons on the side of my house for around 17 years. They have thrived however this year the leaves turned brown on one of them, while the other two still look good. We were concerned it had died but recently it has had some new green leaves on the bottom branches of the plant. Any thoughts on what could have caused this and what we can do to help it come back?

Rhododendren rescue!

Hi, Kathryn, “Rhodos” are pretty resilient but occasionally they get sick. The wilt or browning that you describe could be caused by several things, such as poor drainage (is this plant more vulnerable to pooling water than the others?), summer drought (oddly enough, too little water is about as damaging as too much), accumulated fertilizer that did not wash into the soil (see poor drainage above), being planted too deep (on the face of it this may not sound like your plant…but if water runoff or the like has carried soil/silt or mulch to the plant and that built up on the roots, it is as if the plant is buried too deeply; the roots should be near the surface of the soil/ground)

It sounds like your rhodo is in recovery, Perhaps you can help it along by checking on these points.

Thanks for asking! Hope this helps—


Is it ok to fertilize with horse manure or will it hurt the rhododendruim plants?

Fertilizing Rhododendrons

It is not a problem to use manure on rhododendrons–just be sure it is properly aged and mix it in with other composted materials.


I planted 6 rhododendrons last fall. now I notice that the leaves are shriveling and there are some holes in some leaves. what have I done? what can I do?


Hi Karen,

It sounds like your shrubs have been visited by leafroller caterpillars. Try insecticidal soap. It is non-toxic and effective. Follow directions on the label and be sure to get it into the curled parts of the leaves. Don’t fret, rhodies are tough!

Rhododendron help

We purchased our home last October and the rhododendron on the property appears to be healthy. It has just finished flowering in the past few weeks. Not many blossoms - looks to me like the previous owners did not dead head from the previous years. Where the blooms should have been dead headed there are tall green leaves. It looks like there may be new buds in these leaves; just didn't flower much. Should I just remove the dead buds from previous years? Thanks!

Deadheading Rhodies

While Rhododendrons are pretty low-maintenance and will perform if left to their own devices, in a home setting, it is helpful to deadhead them and fertilize them during the growing season. Tip: wear gloves, deadheading Rhodies is a sticky business!

Transplanting young plant

I'm a new gardener and have found the information provided here on rhododendron very helpful. Thank you. I bought a rhododendron last year and it hasn't been doing well this year. There were lots of buds in early spring but only one or two bloomed and the rest appeared dry and never opened. The leaves were a dull shade of brownish green and some have fallen. A few of them appear "burned" and the plant is smaller now than it was a year ago. I didn't do a lot of research last year and planted the rhododendron in a mostly sunny spot by a rock, I suspect it may be getting too much sun? I also went to the local nursery to ask what to do and was told the plant might be struggling from recovering from the harsh winter we had here in Ottawa last year (when temperature dropped below -30C)

My question is: what to do now? I'm inclined to move it into the wooded area of our property (partial shade/partial sun) so the plant could get a break from the hot sun and be protected from wind in the winter. Many of your responses suggest transplanting in late summer or in the fall, so should I wait for cooler weather or should I "rescue" the plant from hot sun now?

Rescue the Rhodie

Generally, yes, it is always best to transplant in the fall or spring when conditions are cool and wet. However, it does sound like it is being burned alive. A shady woodland location would be much better. Dig a shallow trench around the root zone (a ring around the shrub). In the evening, set up a hose on a very light trickle and circle it around the shrub. Leave it on overnight–that will give it a deep soaking. The whole trick is in keeping the roots wet. Be sure to prepare in advance the hole into which you will be replanting it. In the cool of the early morning, check to see that it has been well watered. If so, dig a wide circle around its root zone, doing your best to keep feeder roots intact. Go ahead and move it. Once it is in the new location, before backfilling the hole with soil, soak it again. Then mulch. Monitor it regularly and keep an eye on its moisture level. You don’t want it drying out.

Rhodadren flowers

I live in western PA and planted a broadened about three years ago. It has winterized well and is lovely and green with many new leaves. However, it has never bloomed or eve produced buds. It is planted among ferns and hostas and bleeding hearts, all of which thrive. Suggestions on what to do? Much appreciated! Thanks in advance.

Not sure what type of

Not sure what type of rhododendron you planted but most rhododendrons do well in dappled shade with some sun. Hostas and bleeding hearts are shade lovers. Rhododendrons also like moist rich soil. You can add some compost to the soil around the plant.


I recently bought some rhododendrons which are about to bloom. Should I wait until after they bloom to plant them or should I try to get them in before? Also, is it ok to use triple mix to amend the soil when I plant them or should I find some compost? Thank you.

when to transplant...

You can safely transplant rhododendrons at any time. The ideal time is in their dormant season (fall or early spring), when temps are cool and soil moisture is plentiful. So waiting til after they bloom, is really your decision. The “shock”—ok, adjustment—of being transplanted  might delay the bloom or weaken it but it should not harm the plant in the long run——assuming the process goes well. As for amending the soil, we are not familiar with “triple mix”; see our recommendation for soil above, which advises compost and more. Take good care to plant these shrubs at the same depth they are in the pot/nursery ball. Make sure to water them often; they will suffer from drying. Best wishes!


I really goofed up last year and my one rhododendron has suffered because of it. My rhododendrons are over 33 years old. They are planted on either side of my front porch. They bloomed beautifully every year. Because they were getting to be like trees, we decided, two years ago, that we wanted to prune them back to the height of our porch railing. Getting them to be symmetrical was quite difficult because of the branches growing in different directions. So last year, after they bloomed, I decided that I'd try to even them out. What a mistake. I discovered, too late, that the one had a "hole" in the center and back of the shrub. Now I've got a shrub that is only growing on the one side, and the other side is bare. Is there any way to save this plant and maybe prune it down enough to get it to sprout on the bad side? Thank you.

We suggest that you remove

We suggest that you remove dead or diseased parts of the shrub by following the branch back to healthy wood and make a cut there. Early next spring if the bush has not improved prune all the branches back. Expect the plant to take at least two years to grow back to an attractive size. Also be aware that If the plant is in poor health, you risk killing it with this method.

Rhododendron starts

Can you grow Tgwm off starts from another Rhododendron? And if so were do you cut the existing Rhododendron?

Start a Rhododendron

Yes, you can propogate new rhodendron from another by taking a cutting and rooting it. You take a cutting from the current year’s growth from a branch that is upright. See more details about how to start a rhody from a cutting here: http://www.rhododendron.org/v48n4p201.htm

Don't prune? Seriously? Pfft.

Don't prune? Seriously? Pfft...it's all about timing. Prune within the 1-3 week period after flowers have faded for the season, then cut out any weak or crowded branches. Your azalea or rhodo will thank you later.

Holes in Rhododendron leaves

I have a huge Rhododendron that flowers profusely. I this fall, holes in quite a few leaves near the bottom of the bush as if something is eating it but don't see an insect. Please advise.

Hi Dixie,

Hi Dixie,

The damage could be caused by black-vined or strawberry root weevils. They overwinter as larvae in the soil around the plant and then pupating in spring. In June, the adults emerge an feed on the leaves at night. They hide in the mulch and dead leaves during the day. If you have holes in just a few leaves just keep the thododendron healthy. Also remove some of the mulch and debris under the plant. For severe damage you can get beneficial nematodes to attack the larvae in late spring or early summer when the soil has warmed above 50 F.



I live in western Pennsylvania. It is late October and one of my Rhododendrons is blooming. Not unseasonably warm. Is this normal?

There are some varieties that

There are some varieties that rebloom in summer or fall, but most likely this rhododendron may have been tricked into blooming in the fall by some cold nights. Buds that developed in the spring can break dormancy with an early coldspell in the autumn.

See more at https://hort.purdue.edu/ext/bloomsequence.html


I have several mature

I have several mature rhododendrons that where the leaves are yellowing. They did blossom nicely in the spring. Soil is well watered. Is there anything I should e doing this time of year for these plants? I live in the Pacific NW.

Check the plants for insects

Check the plants for insects or any other signs of disease. Make sure that the soil drains well and that the plants don't sit in soggy soil. You can also check the soil for the pH value. Rhododendrons don't like soil that's too alkaline. Wait to fertelize the plants in the spring.

I tried to review most of the

I tried to review most of the comments before asking a question.
Our rhodedendrum we purchased from Home Depot. We had it for two years now. Had a bad winter and ever since then our leaves our brown and dead on some stems and the base of the plant looks barky and dead, but some stems are a nice smooth brown ar the top and growing some buds.
Our question is will it revive? Replaniting it now and making the soil lose and then adding mulch. It is planted against the house with some shade. Should we keep it or ditch it?

It was a hard winter for

It was a hard winter for rhododendrons. Don't give up on yours yet. Remove any dead branches and don't plant it too close to the house.

I purchased a beautiful Rhod

I purchased a beautiful Rhod this spring and planted it in a large, tall outdoor planter. I live in SLC Utah -- will it survive outdoors in a large planter during our cold winters, or should I plan on relocating it into the ground in the early fall?

It's best to protect the

It's best to protect the roots. You can mound mulch or sawdust up around the sides of the pot, or wrap blankets around the planter. The best protection is to sink the planter into the ground and cover with mulch. Next spring you can lift it up.

I used to live in the

I used to live in the Himalayas and there the rhododendron trees grow to 60-70 feet tall. Are there any rhododendron trees available in this country that would grow in USDA zone 4b? I do realize they take 50 years to mature to flowering stage, but would love to plant some...

I purchased a rhodo site

I purchased a rhodo site beautiful blooms a week ago. Filled nursery's directions and it looked great for 2-3 days but now flowers are dropping and falling. Is this normal?

Leaf drop is normal after a

Leaf drop is normal after a transplant but also be sure you are watering adequately as leaf drop happens when the plant is thirsty. Also, be sure the plant isn't overwatered and waterlogged. Speak to your nursery about water and nutritional requirements.

i have 2 young Rhododendrons

i have 2 young Rhododendrons and just planted but one has yellow rusty leaves , it did blossom but blossoms are now brown and dying . Should I take leaves offb?

There are many reasons for

There are many reasons for yellowing leaves. If the surface of the leaves is yellowing with some "burned" areas, that would be related to sun exposure. Either it's in a spot that's too sunny and needs to be moved or it was previously more protected from direct sun and the plant will be tender until hardened off by gradual exposure to sun light. 

My pot-grown azalea seems

My pot-grown azalea seems very healthy and each spring provides a mass of flowers.

However, after a day or two the flowers fall ans within a week after flowering it is all over for another year.

Your comments/suggestions would be appreciated.

Larry Frost

Azaleas are known to bloom

Azaleas are known to bloom for a short period of type. You may be able to find a variety that blooms a few weeks longer. Repot your plant if you haven't lately and when it starts blooming move it out of direct sun into a bit shadier location to extendend the bloom time.

I live in a condo complex

I live in a condo complex that is about 35 years old. The original Rhodies are now overgrown, have been pruned mercilessly, were damaged by the Winter of 2015 and have black branches. But The leaves remain on the bushes year round and they do flower beautiful blossoms. The soil is ok acidically and some get shade and some get sun. The bushes are getting out of control now and they are extremely leggy. What can I do without changing the entire look of the complex and without destroying the Rhodies? Thanks in asvance

I just moved into this home.

I just moved into this home. There's a well-established rhodie approx. 9 feet tall. The bottom half has healthy green leaves and large buds that are beginning to open. The top half has small buds that don't appear to be opening and yellowish, droopy leaves. The other rhodies on the property are healthy looking. What do you think the problem is?

The top section of your

The top section of your rhododendron may have suffered frost damage. Or, if you didn't have frost the plant may be too big for its root system. After the blooms fade this spring prune the top branches and thin some of the inside branches so that the plant gets more light.

I live in Nairobi Kenya and I

I live in Nairobi Kenya and I have come across some azaleas in a nursery that I want to plant in pots. I will keep them in the shade as it can get pretty hot here. I have seen them bloom quite well at the nursery and I am looking forward to seeing the blooms outside my door. Is there anything that I need to be particular about noting that I live smack right in the tropics.

I have a client that had

I have a client that had several azaleas professionally planted going on 8 years ago. Over all they stay green bushy and healthy looking, they bud as they are supposed to but have yet to actually flower. I suggested they were over fertilizing and may have burnt them up. We went all year last year without fertilizer and still no flowers, but they are now starting to wilt a little. Mulch is applied every year as always, mostly shade with a okay drainage. Do you have any ideas for me? Also we have had pretty cold winter for the last two years, and the hydrangeas didn't bloom this past year either for all my clients? I am located in SC, Thank You for your time

Hi Jackie, It sounds like the

Hi Jackie,
It sounds like the buds were damaged by cold weather. Buds are often less cold-hardy than the plant itself. Azaleas do best if they get more than 3 hours of full sun and they do need fertilizer. It's also important to water them well in sping and summer for healthy bud formation for next year's bloom.

The Azaleas have been

The Azaleas have been fertilized good, good amount of sun and water for 8 eight years without actually flowering. I can see the cold damaging the Hydrangeas, but I can't believe the same with the Azaleas.

It's too late for me to plant

It's too late for me to plant here on the Cape because in an above comment I read that it takes a few months before a frost for the roots to take hold. How do I care for a potted Rhododendrum thru the winter then? Right now I moved it into the garage, but the garage is not heated. Txs for your help.

Hi Gail, You can sink the

Hi Gail,
You can sink the whole container into the ground if you have the space. Then add some evergreens or leaves around it for protection. This will protect the roots from the winter chills. An unheated garage is also a good choice. Wrap the pot with a blanket or some other protection. Water the plant a few times during the winter so that the roots don't dry out.

I live in Oregon. I bought 3

I live in Oregon. I bought 3 rhododendron and they are still planted in pots. Will it survived in the pot until spring to plant them? I'm afraid it's too late to plant in November. Advise please :)

You're not the first person

You're not the first person to forget to plant your potted rhododendron. Not to worry. The best thing to do is dig the pot into the ground in a place that's protected from wind and direct sun. Mound up leaves and mulch around the pot. Since you have 3 containers, we'd group them together so they keep warmer. 

Can I plant a rhododendron in

Can I plant a rhododendron in the fall if I expect a long, cold and snowy winter.

It depends on where you live

It depends on where you live and when you will have your first freezing weather. We recommend to plant rhododendrons in early fall so that they have time to establish new roots before the cold weather sets in. Rhododendrons don't mind cold snowy winters but need to be in the ground a couple of months before freezing.

I was given a couple of

I was given a couple of florists' bowls of plants when I was ill three years ago. There was ivy, kalanchoes, and small rhododendrons in these bowls. I've replanted these as they've got larger, and put the rhododendrons in a sunny window over two winters, have them out on my back deck in summer. They've got quite large and have branched out considerably, though have not bloomed yet. We're in Zone 6 and I have no idea what variety they are, so do not know if they'd be winter hardy where we are. I'd like to plant them outdoors in the next few weeks, but am concerned they'll die over the winter. I can burlap them as I've read. But does anybody have any idea of whether they're likely to be winter hardy here?

hi honored i want to know if

hi honored i want to know if this tree gorw up in europe , and if this is good or bad for the honey bees

How far from the side of the

How far from the side of the house should I plant rhododendrons? Can I plant now or should I wait until fall?

Hi, Robert, If you are in a

Hi, Robert,
If you are in a moderate climate, you can plant almost any time. In a cold climate, the ideal time to plant is early spring; early fall is second choice. (You want to give the plant time to adapt.) In a hot climate, plant in fall (so that the plant has time to adapt in the cooler portion of the year).
Rhododendrons are common in foundation (near the house) plantings. Take into consideration how tall and wide it will get (or how tall you want it to get; note that controlling its size will require pruning). You can learn more about this on the plant tag, possibly from the vendor who sold it, or be doing a bit of research on the particular variety you have.
We hope this helps!

We planted 4-5 variety of

We planted 4-5 variety of kinds of Rhododendrons this past fall. It was a hard winter in KY and now all of them seem to not be doing well. They look sick and not growing or producing new growth. One kind has a film covering the leaves - looks a little like aphids do but when I wipe the leaves off there is only a film but no apparent bugs. Another kind is shedding lots of leaves. We are not sure what to do but can't seem to find any helpful information. Please help

Hi, Kay, Some

Hi, Kay, Some deteriation—leaf drop or droop—is not uncommon after a hard winter. Keep them well watered in well draining organic soil, and layer on some rich, organic mulch.
The film may be powdery mildew. It is grayish white and powdery; you have not menitoned a color. Iif it is powdery mildew, it could be caused by high humidity.
It also could be a local insect. You will do best by consulting a local nurseryman or cooperative extension service or a master gardener; the latter can often be foudn through a garden club.
Sorry we can't be more specific.

Hello my name is Roger, and I

Hello my name is Roger, and I viewed your advice on rhods and azaleas. I really liked the advice that you gave, I have an azalea that lost all of it's leaves over the winter and only 6-8 grew back this spring, and now those are dropping off. It looks like it is dying or dead. can it be save or is it a lost cause. It is, or was a beautiful bush. It is about one and a half -two foot tall and when it blooms it is absolutely gorgeous. What advice would you be able to give? Thank You!

Hi, Roger! Thanks for your

Hi, Roger! Thanks for your comment. Hope we can help... A initial consideration for almost any failure to thrive is soil quality and pH. Rhododendrons and azaleas prefer acidic soil. That's another way of describing the pH, and pH can be checked with an inexpensive soil tester. A good nurseryman/woman or your local extensive service can help you with that, too.
Rhodos and azaleas also like organic material in the soil and organic mulches on top. As noted below, give the plants a good dose of aged manure in late fall (or not al all). Fertilizer specifically designated as for azaleas is also recommended, but only in later winter or early spring.
Also, keep the water coming, especially in warm, dry periods.
We wish you the best!

I just bought a rhododendron

I just bought a rhododendron a week and a half ago and planted it in a sunny area as it says part sun/part shade but they were at the garden center outside in a sunny area so I thought it would be ok. I planted it in my far back corner in my backyard where we used to have pine and spruce trees but had cut them all down. I was wondering if the roots from the tree would kill it? I've watered it everyday if it hasn't rained and its only had one feed of fertilizer when I planted it. Just not sure what I am doing wrong that its dying?

It's not likely the the tree

It's not likely the the tree roots killed it. Every plant has a period of adjustment to its new home/location. You do not describe what "dying" looks like but some foliage droop is normal in dry, warm afternoons. If the leaves are drooping in early morning, it needs water.
Watering it is good; keep doing that. Also mulch it with organic material—leaves, pine needles, wood chips or the like—to maintain moisture and eliminate the need or desire to cultivate the ground.
Spread aged manure under the plant in fall—or not at all. IN other words, do not do this at any other time.
Finally, if you continue to have problems (or after reading this), contact the source, the place from which you bought it, and ask if they advise any particular care.
Hope this helps!

We have what we believe is an

We have what we believe is an Azalea which has bright orange blossoms. Which type would this be? We want to plant a matching one at the other end of the yard. Can we cut from this one and start another one? How would we do that?

You can take a cutting from

You can take a cutting from your azalea and plant it. You will know it is the right time to do this when a shoot that comes from the end of existing wood (not the strong thick shoots that come from the base of the plant) is between soft and brittle. It should not bend like rubber, nor snap like a twig. Cut it so that it is two to five inches long, remove all but the top few leaves. Scrape off an inch or two of the bark at the planting sight, then use a rooting hormone. When planting, use a 50/50 peat and perlite mixture. Water regularly.

Wondering how I plant a Rhod

Wondering how I plant a Rhod so that it grows as a shrub and not tree like. I've heard it is how you cover the root system,is this true? Thank you!

Hi Lisa, Pruning back young

Hi Lisa,
Pruning back young plants will help to promote bushy growth. Shaping is best done in late winter or early spring, while the plant is dormant. This type of pruning will also remove some of the newly flower buds and you will have less flowers in the spring.

I am wondering if

I am wondering if rhododendrons produce many "volunteer seedlings" like burning bushes do? I see several bushes on my way to work where nobody lives and was hoping that they maybe put out seedlings that I could easily dig and transplant in my yard. So that's the question . . . do they put out seedlings under the parent bush??

my rhodies are doing badly!

my rhodies are doing badly! ive lost one! this is their 3rd season. im going to use mulch and see if that helps but can i cut away bad leaves? my one is blooming this year but has alot of bad leaves they are 2-3 feet tall. also i have an azalea looks dead right now but should bloom it did the same last year. but should i trim that down before rebloom? its small maybe 1-2 feet,.

Hi Karen, Don't prune before

Hi Karen,
Don't prune before blooming. Wait until the blooms fade and then cut off any leaves and branches that look dead. Adding mulch is a good idea.

I purchased 3 rhododendrons

I purchased 3 rhododendrons for my garden about 3 years ago. My gardener planted them in the shade of a sand cherry and they have not thrived. They are still alive but have not flowered.

I live in a zone 5a/5b area, and I am wondering if it is safe to transplant them. If so when can I do it and what type of light do they prefer?

Most rhododendrons like

Most rhododendrons like dappled shade; a sunny spot that receives a few hours of shade is perfect. Late spring and early fall ar good times to transplant the bushes.

I just bought Azaleas at

I just bought Azaleas at Walmart for Mother's Day. I am surprised to read on the write-up that they require a sunny room all day and grow 12-16 in. tall and 12-16 in. wide. Will they flourish outside in the garden like "normal" azaleas? Will they grow bigger? What kind are they? Please help.

You bought tender indoor

You bought tender indoor winter- and spring-blooming azaleas. They are also known as florist's azaleas. These plants will not tolerate freezing temperatures and will do best as house plants and may or may not rebloom. Prune the tips of the branches after flowering and it may produce more blooms.

just planted some azaleas and

just planted some azaleas and rhododendron do they regrow each yr

Most azaleas and

Most azaleas and rhododendrons are perennials and will give you many years of beautiful blooms.

I bought a home last early

I bought a home last early spring which has a beautiful Rhod in the front garden. Last spring it bloomed lovely flowers. In late fall it started buds again. I didn't prune and the plant went through a very harsh winter with buds and leaves. (I've never had a Rhod before- is this common?)
Now it's early May in Illinois and the Rhod's buds are not opening. They are not shiny green but more green/brown/dull as are the leaves. The buds and leaves do not look dead but maybe they are. Should I cut back to the ground? Thanks!

It's normal for a

It's normal for a rhododendron to have some brown leaves and buds after a severe winter. Don't cut back to the ground. If there is still some green there is hope. If the buds are brown, they are frost damaged and can be left or removed. When removing buds, try not to damage any new growth.

My friend's twenty five year

My friend's twenty five year old white azalea has one single pink bloom right in the center of the shrub.This is the first time this has happened. What could cause this to happen?

Occasionally, azaleas will

Occasionally, azaleas will “sport” different color flowers on the same branch. The sporting may be caused by a genetic mutation but it's nothing to be concerned about.

I have the same type plant

I have the same type plant and last year there was one bloom that was half white and half pink. Very pretty.

HELP!! My rhododendron isn't

HELP!! My rhododendron isn't doing so well. It's been established for many years. Unfortunately, due to our harsh NY winter many leaves have died and the buds look brownish. This has never happened before. Please let me know what I can do. Thanks!!!

If the buds are brown and the

If the buds are brown and the flowers fail to open, this is probably bud blight (a fungus). This is usually caused by early frosts or late frosts. Is your variety hard for the climate? You need to remove the brown buds (but do not compost). A fungicide usually isn't needed since it was due to frost.

The rhodoendrum we have in

The rhodoendrum we have in our back yard is wilting and we have watered it repeatedly. What can I do to try and help it? We have several others that are doing fine just this one is having problems.

Wilting plants are sometimes

Wilting plants are sometimes a sign of fungal root and crown rot. Is the plant set more deeply? Is it in a site that has poorer drainage than your other plants?
If you can, lift and replant the rhododendron. Plant in well-drained and well-aerated soil. Heavier clay soils should be amended with organic matter before planting. Avoid planting in areas where water can collect around plant roots. You could even hill up the soil before planting.

This past cold, long CT

This past cold, long CT winter the deer have eaten ALL the leaves from my rhodies and azaleas. What should I do? Can I cut them back?

Wait and see if the plant is

Wait and see if the plant is starting to produce new shoots along the stems. Cut back any dead branches.

I live in Oregon and have a

I live in Oregon and have a large number of rhodies. Most of them are doing great, with glossy leaves and profuse blooms. I have a couple, though, that look stressed. The leaves are drooping and have a brownish tinge. The buds have set, though, and look like they will bloom. I'm curious if I need to move them (both are in shade), amend the soil or fertilize. Many thanks for any advice.

If these are the only two in

If these are the only two in the shade we would recommend moving them. If not then amending the soil may help. Add compost to the soil and see if that will help.

I am thinking of planting a

I am thinking of planting a rhod. in a largish pot in a shady spot in Sunset Zone 15. Northern Ca. Guerneville. I see many around the hood but in the ground.

I have had my rhododendron

I have had my rhododendron for 2-3 years now and they are still not blooming that is the problem

It can take 2-3 years after

It can take 2-3 years after planting for rhododendrons to bloom. There are also many other reasons for a lack of flowers and some varieties bloom less than others. Cold temps. in the spring can kill new buds. Does you rhododendron get enough sun? Add compost to the soil around the bush and you may also want to test the soil (5.5 pH is recommended for rhododendrons). See our planting and care tips on this page for some more guidence.

What kind of fertilizer do

What kind of fertilizer do you recommend for rhododendrons?

Very little fertilizer is

Very little fertilizer is necessary for rhododendrons if you have proper soil preparation with organic matter and mulchingwith compost. They have low nutritional requirements.
You do want to ensure your soil acidity. The plants thrive best at a soil pH between 5.0 and 5.5.
Do not fertilize rhododendrons at planting; newly planted shrubs can be fertilized after they become established.
Some gardeners do an application in early spring. Ask your garden center for a fertilizer especially formulated for acid-loving plants and follow directions. Fertilizers supplying the ammonium form of nitrogen are best.
A fertilizer analysis similar to 6-10-4 applied at 2 pounds per 100 square feet to the soil surface is usually adequate. Cottonseed meal is also a good fertilizer. Do not apply any fertilizer after the first week in June. 

I have moved into a house

I have moved into a house that has azaleas in the front of the house. There are 5 plants but all are sparse and leggy, I would like to know how I can bring them back to a full beautiful state, any suggestions?

After the blooms have faded,

After the blooms have faded, you can prune the azaleas. Prune to shape and prune back the taller shoots to where they originate. Don't prune after July or you'll remove next year's flowers.

I just planted new

I just planted new rhododendrons last fall. This winter A rabbit drastically pruned one back. All the leaves are gone and it is very short. Will it survive? Or should I plan on replacing it?

We'd go ahead and cut the

We'd go ahead and cut the rhododendruns back, water, and fertilize them with aluminum sulfate, and see if they make it. You'll know soon.

I have older plant they have

I have older plant they have become very leggy. Can I cut them way back? If so when and how? Thank you

Normally, rhododendron need

Normally, rhododendron need very little pruning. However, they can become leggy as the years roll by. You can prune in the early spring. Here is a great preference page from the American Rhododendron Society. Pay attention to: When to prune (early spring), How to Start, and Pruning to Rejuvenate.

I just planted a Pieris

I just planted a Pieris Japonica Variegata in a very sheltered spot near my front porch. It doesn't get any direct sun there. I live in Ottawa, Ontario where we have very cold winters. The garden center neglected to tell me how particular these plants are. Do I have to use burlap every winter on this shrub? I am tempted to return it.

Your biggest issue is lack of

Your biggest issue is lack of direct sun.  These plants need full sun or partial sun and shade. They'll grow without direct sun but they won't flower well. Growing in a protected site is good as they need to be sheltered from winds. A site sloping
to the north or east is best. Low areas should be avoided as should areas beneath shallow-rooted trees, including maple, ash, and elm.
Very little winter protection is needed if you have the right planting site. Cut back on watering in mid-September to help plant tissues mature before winter. However, a good watering before freeze in November is a good idea. If you have tree limbs (or an old Christmas tree), it can help to lay the boughs around the plants for added protection in wintertime. The rhododendron is a great winter plant because it keeps its lovely green leaves throughout the season.

Can a rhododendron be

Can a rhododendron be transplanted by digging a portion of the plant out and moving to new location? If so when?

Yes, rhodies transplant well

Yes, rhodies transplant well if done properly. You need to get all the roots out. In terms of timing: Early spring transplanting is recommended for cooler climates.  Very late summer to late fall transplanting is preferred in warmer climates. Really, the only bad time is the hot periods of summer.

I have heard it is possible

I have heard it is possible to start new Rhody shrubs by cutting and planting the pieces. Does this actually work? Do you need a root-growth powder to dip the ends into first?

Yes, you do need a rooting

Yes, you do need a rooting hormone. The powder kind is most common. Here's a good reference page on how to root a hydrangea cutting: http://www.rhododendron.org/v4...

Rhodaderum got to big need to

Rhodaderum got to big need to cut back when can I do it

In general, rhododendrons

In general, rhododendrons don't need to be pruned, however, if they are getting too big, reduce the size with light pruning. Remove the flower clusters on rhododendrons as soon as flowering is complete. If it's just overgrown, you can actually prune it back to the stubs and it will recover in a few years and become a shapely young-looking plant. 

My azaleas (20 years old)

My azaleas (20 years old) have never been pruned but have in the past couple of years been overrun my my neighbors ivy. The ivy is very difficult to control. And suggestions? Thanks, Ken

Do you mean English ivy? This

Do you mean English ivy? This is a non-native plant which is an invasive that threatens other plants. Perhaps you can speak to your neighbor because it needs to be cut down before seed set and potential spread of this species. Chemical control measures for English Ivy can be
found in the Plant Conservation All
iance web site here: http://www.nps.gov/plants/alie...

we live in south and received

we live in south and received a rhododendron for b,day should we wait until fall to plant it out it get real dry in summer. where should we keep it if we wait until fall under a shade tree or in the house thanks

In warm climates,

In warm climates, rhododendrons are best planted in the fall. They require: excellent drainage, a soil pH between 4.5 and 6.0, and protection from hot afternoon sun so a high canopy of filtered shade is a good idea. Oaks and pines are a great companion. They must have a constant supply of moisture but never sit in stagnant water.

pruning rhodies

do you mean NEVER prune? We have two large rhododendron bushes which are growing almost to roof height, one of which is also growing outward invading the driveway. i had heard that you must be careful when pruning rhodies, but would like some specific guidelines, if possible. Thanks!

You CAN cut them back but no

You CAN cut them back but no need to routinely prune a rhododendron. According to the American Rhododendrum Society, "If a plant grows out over a walk or needs to be restricted for some reason, it may be pruned back moderately without fear that the plant as a whole will be damaged. It is often possible to do this pruning during the blooming season and have flowers for the house. Old leggy plants may need pruning, but often these are better replaced with smaller newer varieties. Old plants, however, can be cut back severely and still recover, although it may be a while before they bloom again."

I am in Central PA zone 6-7

I am in Central PA zone 6-7 by the map. I have 2 rhododendrons about 9 feet tall. Have never had to do anything to them, on occasion I have deadheaded after blooming, but they have been great, the best looking plants/trees in our lot. We are having construction done and the rhodies will need to be moved or lost. The construction will start in mid to late Sept. I would love to try and save them. Common sense tells me they are too large to transplant (Y/N?) if so may I prune heavily now (to about 3 feet - woody stems) and move them between now and construction? Or is it too late to prune, too soon to transplant after pruning? First freeze is somewhere near mid-late Oct I think.


I just wanted to drop you a line to thank you for your hospitality during my stay. I got this "rhodo" shot from the Old Farmer's Almanac site. I hope you like it.

Botanical Name: 


Plant Type: 

Sun Exposure: 

Soil pH: 

Hardiness Zone: 

Flower Color: 

Bloom Time: 

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