The Rhododendron plant is a spectacularly flowering shrub or tree from the Heather family. This genus unites over a thousand species. It also includes another plant known for its beauty – azalea. It is an indoor or greenhouse variety of rhododendron.
The name “rhododendron” consists of two parts: “rhodon” – “rose”, and “dendron” – tree, which means “rosewood” or “tree with roses.” So azalea flowers really have some resemblance to the queen of flowers. Other members of the genus are very diverse. They can be from tiny bushes to tall trees. Some species are evergreen, others can shed their foliage in whole or in part. In nature, such plants are most often found in the countries of Southeast Asia and the North American continent. Rhododendrons are found on mountain slopes, adorn river, sea and ocean coasts and shady corners near forests.
The appearance of such plants is quite diverse. They are represented by both large trees and small bushes with creeping shoots. The appearance of their flowers can also be varied. They vary in size, shape and color. The largest of them are capable of reaching 20 cm in size. The smallest are barely visible to the eye.
In addition to natural varieties, rhododendron has many garden forms and ornamental varieties bred by breeders. Their number reaches 3 thousand.
Description of rhododendron
Rhododendron growing in the garden is most often a large shrub. The shape and size of its crown and leaves varies greatly and depends on the specific species. It is thanks to the beautiful foliage and spectacular delicate flowers that rhododendron is so prized in horticulture. Its flowers are collected in cluster inflorescences or scutes. Due to the number of flowers, each such inflorescence resembles a small bouquet..
The palette of colors includes pink and lilac tones, as well as tones of white, yellow and red. The appearance of individual flowers may also vary from species to species. Flowers are tubular, funnel-shaped, wheel-shaped. In some varieties, they resemble a bell. Some rhododendrons exude a pleasant smell during flowering. The budding period is usually in the spring, making the rhododendron one of the earliest honey plants. After the withering of the flowers, bolls filled with tiny seeds form in their place..
How to choose the right rhododendron
Choosing the right rhododendron is halfway to success. The future of your experiment depends on the type of plant. You cannot place a thermophilic rhododendron variety in a cold climate. Tropical species, for example, require high humidity and high temperatures. Today, stores are actively offering the latest evergreen varieties, but people who do not have experience in growing flowers with such exotics should better refrain from buying.
Frost-resistant specimens should attract your attention. They will be able to acclimatize faster and get used to cold winters. This will further save the flower from death, and the owner from disappointment..
It is important to know where the rhododendron was grown. Ideally, when you take the planting material from friends and see the mother bush with your own eyes. This will give you a clear idea of what might end up happening. A local nursery will do, too. The plant will already be accustomed to the local conditions, and the adaptation period will pass much faster.
In matters of purchasing expensive flowers, avoid spontaneous markets. There is no need to take risks by putting price and quality on the scales.
The best option for buying a rhododendron is a two-four-year-old bush of seed or cuttings. This can be determined by the height. During this time, the branches will grow from seeds no more than 15 cm, from the cuttings – about 25 cm. When buying, carefully examine the roots and leaves of the rhododendron. Signs of disease (overgrown bumps, spots, cracks, fungi) should not be visible anywhere.
Planting a rhododendron in open ground
Choosing a place and time for boarding
The root system of the rhododendron does not lie too deep and consists of many fibrous roots. Such a structure greatly facilitates the transplant of a bush: it becomes less traumatic. At the same time, some species of rhododendron are not distinguished by high frost resistance. For a garden in the middle lane, you will need to choose more winter-hardy varieties.
As a rule, planting of rhododendron in the ground is done in the spring (from April to the end of May) or in the fall. In some cases, the bushes are planted literally throughout the entire warm season, with the exception of the flowering period. After its completion, you will also have to wait about two weeks to give the plant time to recover..
For a rhododendron, a shady corner on the north side of the garden is suitable. The plant should be located in a well-drained area with loose humus and fairly acidic soil. The level of groundwater at the site is also more important. If it is less than a meter, the place for planting the rhododendron will have to be slightly raised.
You can place such plantings next to large trees, whose roots penetrate deep into the ground. Rhododendron will arrange a neighborhood with pines or larch trees, as well as oaks and fruit, pear or apple trees. With this arrangement, the plantings will not conflict for moisture in the soil. But if the roots of neighboring trees are closer to the soil surface, the rhododendron should be planted further away from them. These species include maples, chestnuts, lindens, poplars, willows and elms, as well as alder. Next to them, the bush will suffer from a lack of nutrients. If you cannot find another place for planting the rhododendron, you can create a kind of fence for its roots. For this, the edges of the planting pit are reinforced with slate, polyethylene or roofing material..
The depth of the planting pit should be about 40 cm, and its width – up to 60 cm. The soil necessary for the plant is additionally poured into the dug hole – about 3.5 buckets of loamy soil or 2 buckets of clay and 8 buckets of high-moor peat. The resulting mixture is well mixed and compacted. After that, a hole is dug in the resulting earth. Its size should correspond to the volume of the soil clod of the seedling..
Before planting, the rhododendron bush must be removed from the pot and immersed in water to properly moisten. It is pulled out only when bubbles stop appearing on the water. Then the roots of the bush must be slightly straightened, placed in the hole and compacted so as to fill all the voids formed. When transplanting, the root collar is not buried.
If there are already buds on the rhododendron seedlings, some of them must be removed. This will direct the main forces of the plant to root growth. Young plants transplanted into the ground will require sufficient moisture. If planting was carried out in dry soil, it should be shed to a depth of about 20 cm. After that, the area next to the trunk of the bush is mulched. For this purpose, pine needles or peat are suitable. You can also use moss or oak foliage. The thickness of the mulch layer should be about 5.5 cm.
If a young rhododendron is planted away from large plantings, a lonely bush may suffer from gusts of wind. To prevent the plant from swaying too much, it is tied to a support. Before the garter, the support should be slightly tilted in the direction opposite to the most frequent winds. When the bush grows up and gets stronger, if necessary, the support is removed.
Caring for rhododendron in the garden
In order for the shrub to fully develop, the rhododendron will need good care. It will consist of periodic spraying, regular watering and top dressing. The area next to the bush will also have to be weeded. But you cannot use a hoe in this case – there is a risk of touching the shallow roots of the plant. In addition, the rhododendron will need systematic pruning and testing for diseases or harmful insects..
The most important for rhododendron is the degree of humidity in the air and soil, especially during the formation of buds. The number of flowers in the next year depends on compliance with the watering regime. To moisten the soil, use only soft – rain or well-settled water. You can apply another method of water preparation – the day before watering, 1-2 handfuls of high-moor peat are added to it for acidification..
The amount of watering can be estimated by the state of the foliage of the rhododendron. When its shiny plates become dull or slightly wither, the bush clearly needs watering. The optimal level is considered to be moisture to a depth of 30 cm. But water should not stagnate in the ground: the plant is very sensitive to waterlogging. The bush reacts to it in almost the same way as to drought: it folds the foliage and lowers it. To avoid overflow in hot weather, the usual amount of watering should be combined with moistening the foliage from a spray bottle. Spraying will also require soft water..
The rhododendron practically does not need formative pruning: its crown by nature has beautiful outlines. They begin to cut the bush when it becomes too tall or it is time to rejuvenate it. Pruning can also be carried out for sanitary purposes, for example, if the branches of the plant have been touched by frost.
Pruning of adult rhododendrons must be carried out in the spring, before active sap flow begins. Slices about 2-4 cm in size should be disinfected with a garden varnish. About a month after this procedure, dormant buds will begin to wake up on the branches. The bush will continue to update throughout the year.
Bushes that are too old or affected by frost should be cut to a height of 35 cm.In order not to harm the rhododendron, pruning is carried out in two steps: first, only half of the bush is cut, and the second is trimmed only next year.
You should know that every bush does not please every year with abundant flowering. As a rule, in the season after a long and lush flowering, the plant “rests” and forms much fewer buds. If desired, this feature can be influenced. After the flowering of the rhododendron, all dried inflorescences should be broken off. So the bush does not have to spend energy on the formation of fruits, and he will direct them to the buds of next year..
It is necessary to feed both old rhododendrons and young, recently rooted seedlings. The first time fertilization is applied at the beginning of spring, and the last – until the beginning of August, after the bush has faded and begins to form fresh twigs. Usually, liquid formulations are used for rhododendron, containing cow dung, partially overheated, as well as horn flour. To prepare such a mixture, manure is diluted in water in a ratio of 1:15, and then left to infuse for several days. Before applying the solution, the bushes must be watered abundantly..
Rhododendrons need acidic soil, therefore, the mineral compositions that are introduced into the soil during feeding should not affect its reaction. Bushes can be fertilized with superphosphate, as well as potassium sulfate, ammonium or calcium and other similar compounds. These fertilizers are used in a very small dosage (1.2: 1000), and the potash compounds are diluted even more..
Approximate Nutrient Schedule Guidelines:
- In the spring, organic or mineral compounds are introduced, including nitrogen. For 1 sq. m, about 50 g of magnesium sulfate and the same amount of ammonium sulfate are taken;
- At the very beginning of summer, after flowering, superphosphate and potassium sulfate are added at the rate of 20 g per 1 sq. m. To them add ammonium sulfate (40 g);
- The last feeding is carried out in the middle of summer, repeating the introduction of superphosphate and potassium sulfate in the same dosage.
Rhododendron after flowering
In dry autumn, rhododendron is watered systematically and abundantly. One bush can have at least 10 liters of water. But if autumn is rainy enough, watering can be stopped. In November, it is necessary to insulate the planting root system so that possible frosts do not touch it. The area near the bushes is mulched with peat for this.
Rhododendron is able to overwinter without shelter only in regions with mild warm winters. In other cases, the plants will have to be covered. In the middle lane, they begin to shelter the plantings before the threat of the first frosts. The branches of the bush are laid with spruce or pine spruce branches, and the bush itself is lightly tied with a rope. After that, the plants are covered with a layer of burlap. It can only be removed in the spring, after the snow melts. So that the bush, unaccustomed from the sun, does not suffer from its bright rays, the shelter is removed only in cloudy weather.
Pests and diseases
The main diseases of rhododendron are fungal. These include cancer and chlorosis, as well as rust or leaf spots. As a rule, such diseases are caused by poor aeration of the plant roots. If the leaves show signs of mottling or rust, they can be dealt with by treating the bush with products containing copper. Among them is the Bordeaux mixture. If the foliage of the plant turns yellow, chlorosis is a likely cause. They fight with it with the help of iron chelate, which is diluted in water when watering. Cancer lesions should be trimmed to healthy areas. In advanced cases, the branches are completely removed. To prevent the development of such diseases, in early spring and late autumn, plantings are treated with a Bordeaux mixture, sprinkling with foliage.
Rhododendron can become the target of a variety of garden pests. Hand picking will help to cope with the invasion of snails or slugs, and treatment with a fungicide solution (Tiram or TMTD, 8%) can prevent their appearance. If bugs or spider mites are noticed on the bush, it is treated with Diazinon. If weevils have settled on the plant, they will have to process not only the bush itself, but also the adjacent soil surface. As a fight against all other insects (scale insects, mealybugs, etc.), Karbofos is used. It is used strictly according to the instructions..
Breeding methods for rhododendron
To obtain new rhododendrons, you can use both the seed method and a number of vegetative ones. These include the separation of cuttings, dividing the bush, as well as cuttings and grafting. The most common method is the formation of layering..
Growing from seeds
Seeds are sown in containers filled with soil composed of wet peat or heather soil mixed with sand (3: 1). The seeds are placed superficially, and then sprinkled with a thin layer of washed sand. The containers are covered with glass or a bag and transferred to light. Before sprouting, the container must be ventilated, condensation removed, and the moisture level of the soil must be maintained. The first shoots will appear within a month. When they have a pair of full-fledged leaves, they are planted at a distance of 2×3 cm. By replanting such sprouts, they can be buried to the level of the cotyledon leaves. This will allow the plants to form more robust roots..
In the first year, such rhododendrons are kept in a greenhouse, where the temperature remains low. The next season, they are moved into open ground, using a mixture of garden soil with a sandy-peat substrate for planting. Bushes obtained from seeds develop rather slowly and will bloom only in the 6th year of life or later..
Propagation by cuttings
Only a fraction of rhododendron species can be successfully propagated by cuttings. Partially woody shoots can be used for cuttings. Their length should be about 6-8 cm. The lower leaves are removed from the segments, and then the slices are immersed in a solution that stimulates root formation, keeping them in it for about 12-16 hours. For planting, peat-sandy soil is used (3: 1). The planted cuttings are covered with transparent jars or bags on top..
Rooting time depends on the type of rhododendron. Deciduous varieties take about 1.5 months to take root, but in evergreens, this can take 2-3 times longer. Growing established cuttings is carried out by moving them into boxes filled with a mixture of pine needles with peat (1: 2). Such seedlings spend the winter in a bright, but rather cool (about 10 degrees, but not less than 8 degrees) place. In the spring, containers with plantings are added in the garden. In this form, they will spend another couple of years, and only after that they can be transplanted to the chosen place..
Reproduction by layering
Cutting is the easiest and fastest way to get a new rhododendron. In the spring, for this, a flexible young shoot is chosen, located in the lower part of the bush. It is carefully bent down by placing it in a pre-prepared groove 15 cm deep. The middle of the branch is fixed in the groove, and then it is covered with a mixture of garden soil with peat. The upper part of the inclined shoot remains above the ground. She is tied to a vertical support. Now, watering the bush, it will be necessary to moisten the area where the cuttings were dug. In the fall or spring of next year, it is separated from the parent bush and transplanted to the right place. Deciduous rhododendrons reproduce most easily in this way..
Types and varieties of rhododendrons with photos and names
The rhododendron has a huge variety of species. The following types and varieties are used most often in horticulture:
Rhododendron dahurian (Rhododendron dahuricum)
In its natural environment, this species lives in the rocky and forest zones of the Far East, as well as in the northeastern regions of China, Mongolia and Korea. It has a strong branching, and in height can be from 2 to 4 m. The bark of such a rhododendron has a gray color. Slender shoots growing upward are colored brownish. Towards the end, the branches have a slight short pubescence. The foliage is small, leathery, up to 3 cm long. On the outside, each leaf is smooth, and on the seamy side it is covered with scales. Fresh foliage has a light green hue. As it grows, it becomes darker and deeper, and in the fall the leaf blades turn reddish or turn brown. The species is considered partially deciduous: in winter it sheds only part of the leaves..
The flowering of such a rhododendron occurs before the foliage begins to bloom and lasts about 3 weeks. During this period, the bush is covered with large pink-lilac funnel-shaped flowers. The size of each flower reaches 4 cm.Sometimes a second wave of flowering occurs in the fall..
The species is remarkable not only for decorativeness, but also for its frost resistance. In addition, it is enough to simply propagate it not only by layering, but also by non-woody cuttings..
The Daurian species has two main varieties:
- Evergreen: purple-lilac flowers and rich green foliage.
- Early flowering garden hybrid: short and very abundant early flowering. Each flower grows up to 5 cm in diameter and is reddish blue in color. But the frost resistance of the hybrid form is inferior to the natural plant.
An evergreen species that lives in the foothills of Tibet and in the Far Eastern forests. Rhododendron adamsii is a branching shrub up to half a meter in size. Its shoots have glandular pubescence. The foliage is dense, matte, about 2 cm long. On the outside, it is painted in a greenish-silver color, and on the seamy side it has a scaly structure, giving the leaf a reddish tint. Inflorescences-shields unite up to 15 small flowers up to 1.5 cm in diameter. Their color includes a variety of pink tones. In Buryatia, the species is considered a Red Book.
Japanese Rhododendron (Rhododendron japonicum)
It grows in the mountainous regions of the island of Honshu. Prefers sunny locations and is considered one of the most attractive deciduous rhododendron species. Its height can reach 2 m. Shoots can be bare or have a slight silvery pubescence. The green foliage is lanceolate and pubescent on both sides. Thanks to this, such a sheet is very soft to the touch. In autumn, the green color of the foliage changes to a reddish-orange.
The species forms cluster inflorescences, each containing about a dozen fragrant bell flowers. They are colored reddish crimson or orange. Such a rhododendron can be successfully grown in the middle lane. It is quite frost-hardy, and also reproduces well with seeds and cuttings..
Caucasian rhododendron (Rhododendron caucasicum)
Lives in the Caucasus. It is a not too large evergreen shrub with creeping shoots. Its elongated leathery foliage is dark green in color and is located on dense, long and thick petioles. On the front side, each sheet is bare, and on the inside it has a reddish tomentose pubescence. Peduncles are also slightly pubescent. On them are inflorescences-brushes, including about a dozen flowers of a delicate greenish-pink color. The pharynx of each flower is covered with brighter specks. During flowering, the bush exudes a pleasant aroma. Among the decorative forms of this type:
- Shiny: has dark pink flowers;
- Pink-white: early flowering;
- Golden yellow: forms yellow flowers with pale green specks;
- Straw yellow: forms yellow flowers with red specks.
In addition to the listed species, the following rhododendrons are also found in horticulture. Deciduous species include:
- Albrecht’s rhododendron – Japanese species, blooms red-pink, there is a greenish spot on the petals.
- Atlantic – has a height of about 60 cm and light pink fragrant flowers.
- Vaseya is a North American species. In nature, it grows up to 5 m, the cultivated form is 2 times lower. Flowers pinkish speckled, odorless.
- Holofloral – forms white or pink odorless flowers on a long tube.
- Tree-like – the foliage of this species becomes crimson by autumn. Blooms in summer, forming fragrant light white or pink flowers.
- Yellow – reaches 4 m in height. Forms fragrant yellow or orange flowers on a narrow tube. The foliage is painted in bright warm colors in the fall. Also referred to as Pontic Azalea.
- Western – flowering occurs at the end of spring. At this time, white flowers with a yellowish spot bloom on the bush, which almost do not smell.
- Kamchatka is a dwarf species up to 35 cm high.The flowers have a bright pink or red color.
- Canadian – does not exceed 1 m in height. The flowers are purple in color.
- Glutinous – blooms in mid-summer. At this time, fragrant white or pale pink flowers appear, resembling small lilies..
- Marigold – orange or yellow.
- Pointed – partly deciduous species. The flowers are purple.
- Pink – blooms in May, the inflorescences are pink in color and exude a pleasant aroma.
- Slate – flowers can have both pink-orange and carmine color.
- Schlippenbach – a bush or tree with large fragrant pinkish umbrella-shaped inflorescences.
Other evergreen rhododendron species include:
- Stiff-haired – has a creeping crown up to a meter high. It blooms in early summer, after leaf formation, forming odorless bright pink or white flowers.
- Golden – a low bush with a spreading crown. Flowering takes place in 2 waves: at the beginning and at the end of summer. Inflorescences have a pale yellow color, they are formed by 3-cm flowers.
- Indian – despite the name, the native land of the species is Japan. A low-growing bush that blooms luxuriantly for about 2 months. Has many garden forms, differing in appearance and color of flowers.
- Karolinska – reaches 1.5 m in height. The flowers are funnel-shaped and white or pink with a pale yellow speck. They have almost no smell.
- Carpathian (Kochi) – up to a meter high. Inflorescence scutes are red-pink, less often white..
- Carpal is a Chinese species. Most often, the height does not exceed half a meter. The inflorescences are scarlet or white..
- Short-fruited (Fori) – erect bush up to 3 m high.Flowering occurs in July, inflorescences can be white or pink.
- Reddening – the height is from half a meter to a meter. Flowers appear in late April, have a spectacular purple color and white throat.
- The largest is one of the most ancient species. It can be both a bush and a tree. Bell flowers are white or pink with reddish specks.
- Large-leaved – the height reaches 3 m.The flowers are usually pink in color with dark red spots.
- Katevbinsky – named after the North American river, near which it grows. It can have the shape of a tree up to 6 m high.The flowers are large (up to 15 cm) in size and have a lilac-purple color.
- Lapland is a semi-evergreen species. Inflorescences-brushes consist of lilac or pink flowers.
- Ledebura is a semi-evergreen bush that lives in Altai and Mongolia. Blooms in May and September, forming bright purple-pink inflorescences.
- Makino is a Japanese two-meter bush. The flowers have a delicate pinkish color and carmine specks.
- Small-leaved – bush up to a meter high. Forms small lilac flowers.
- Metternich – blooms in the middle of summer, forming white flowers with a red tint.
- Sea buckthorn – lives in China. The foliage has a silvery tint, the flowers are pink or purple.
- Dense – does not exceed half a meter in height. The flowers are bluish-purple..
- Pontic – can be in the form of a tree with several trunks. Inflorescences can be pale pink or lilac speckled.
- Attractive – a tiny creeping bush 15 cm in height. The flowers are purple with a purple tint and dark spots.
- Pukhansky – may be semi-evergreen. Fragrant flowers, delicate lilac speckled.
- Equivalent – reaches half a meter in height. Petals purple.
- Rusty – a bush about 70 cm high.The flowers are usually reddish-pink in color.
- Sikhotinsky is a semi-evergreen endemic. The color palette of inflorescences includes many shades from purple to pink.
- Smirnov is a Caucasian species. May be in the form of a tree. Large flowers are red-pink in color.
- Dull – a semi-evergreen bush up to 1.5 m tall. Pink flowers smell faint.
- Rooting – Tibetan species up to 15 cm high.Single purple flowers.
- Warda – with pale yellowish flowers.
- Fortune – flowers combine pink, yellow and green tones, and then acquire a white color.
- Yunnan – with white or light pink inflorescences.
- Yakushimansky – pinkish flowers turn white as they bloom.
Hybrid rhododendron (Rhododendron hybriden)
All hybrid varieties and forms used in horticulture are united under this name. This rhododendron is also called garden rhododendron. Among the most famous varieties:
- Alfred. German cultivar based on the Ketevin rhododendron. Evergreen bush up to 1.2 m high. The crown spreads about 1.5 m. The foliage is shiny, deep green in color. Inflorescences include up to 2 dozen dark purple flowers. Each flower is decorated with a yellowish speck, and its size reaches 6 cm.
- Blue Peter. One of the hybrid varieties of the Pontic rhododendron. The height of the bush is about 1.5 m. The crown at the same time reaches a two-meter girth. Flowers up to 6 cm in diameter have corrugated edges and are painted in lilac-blue color. The top petal has a purple speck.
- Jacksoni. A hybrid obtained by English breeders based on the Caucasian rhododendron. It reaches a height of 2 m, and its crown spreads over 3 m. There is also a more compact form with a height of only up to 80 cm. The foliage has a leathery surface. It is green on the front side, and brownish on the inside. Inflorescences can contain up to a dozen flowers that change color as they bloom. At the stage of opening the bud, they are pink and then turn white. At the same time, a yellowish spot appears on one petal..
- Cunningham. Scottish form of the Caucasian rhododendron. Forms bushes up to 2 m in height and 1.5 m in crown width. The foliage is dark green, up to 6 cm long and up to 3 cm wide. The inflorescences consist of a dozen closely spaced flowers. The petals are white and have yellow dots.
- Nova Zembla. Dutch hybrid form, bred on the basis of the Katevbinsky species. Forms sparse bushes up to 3 m in height with a girth of 3.5 m. Almost all shoots are vertical. The foliage is large, shiny. Inflorescences include up to 12 flowers. Each of them can be up to 6 cm in size. There is a dark speck on the surface of the red petals..
- Rose Marie. Obtained by Czech botanists from the magnificent rhododendron. The height of the hybrid reaches 1.2 m, the crown width is about 1.5 m.The leathery green foliage has an oblong shape, from the outside it has a waxy coating, and from the inside it is painted in a blue-green glossy color. The flower color includes many shades of pink. Closer to the edge, the petals are lighter in color, and in the middle – more saturated. The globular inflorescences include up to 14 flowers.
Growing rhododendron in the suburbs
Novice gardeners are often fascinated by the spectacular view of the lushly blooming rhododendrons, seeing them in advertisements or in the southern region. But, acquiring such a bush in the middle lane and planting it on their site, many are disappointed in it. It looks far from so spectacular, and sometimes it simply cannot take root and soon dies. But it is still possible to grow a southern ornament in an unusual region for him. Only caring for the plant in this case will have its own characteristics..
Features of landing in the Moscow region
If severe frosts strike in winter, it makes no sense to choose heat-loving varieties for planting. Even the most reliable shelter will not help such rhododendrons. Preference should be given only to frost-resistant species that can survive low temperatures. As a rule, deciduous varieties of rhododendron belong to them: yellow, Japanese, Vaseya, Canadian, as well as Kamchatka, Schlippenbach and Pukhan. The species of Ledebour, partially shedding foliage, also shows itself well. A number of evergreen rhododendrons can also survive extreme cold weather. These include Ketevba, short-fruited, the largest rhododendron, as well as golden and Smirnov. Many hybrids of Ketevbinsky and Smirnov are also highly frost-resistant. You should pay attention to the group of winter-hardy Finnish varieties, as well as the hybrid group Northern Light.
Having chosen a species suitable for growing, it must be planted on a site in compliance with all placement rules:
- Rhododendrons are planted in spring. For planting, a slightly shady place is chosen, at least a meter away from large landings..
- The dimensions of the planting pit are calculated based on the volume of the container with the rhododendron. It should exceed it by about 2 times..
- If the soil on the site is clayey, at least 15 cm of drainage from broken bricks or pebbles is laid at the bottom of the planting hole.
- It is advisable to plant a bush in a mixture that is ideal for it. You can purchase a ready-made composition or mix garden soil with needles and peat yourself. The necessary mineral compositions are also introduced into the soil in advance..
- When replanting a bush in the soil, you should not bury it. The root collar should remain at the same level.
- After transplanting, the bush is watered abundantly.
Care rules in the Moscow region
Caring for a plant grown in the middle lane practically does not differ from the general rules for caring for a rhododendron, but still has a number of features:
- Rhododendron should grow in acidic soil rich in humus. The planting area should not include wood ash, limestone, dolomite or other compounds that can make the soil more alkaline. To do this, it is worth presenting the nutritional area of the future bush.
- After planting, the circle near the trunk of the rhododendron must be closed with mulch. This will retain moisture and protect the plant from weeds. It will still be impossible to loosen or dig up this area due to the high level of occurrence of the roots of the bush.
- In the spring, when the sun becomes more active, the plant needs to be covered from its rays. To do this, you can throw mesh fabric or gauze over the bush..
- It is important to follow a specific watering schedule. The rhododendron must receive the required amount of liquid, so the calculation is carried out according to the weather. In hot dry summers, the bush is watered twice a week. If the weather is warm and humid for a long time in autumn, it can activate the growth of young shoots. By winter, such a growth does not have time to grow strong enough and dies at the first severe frosts. Such freezing can weaken the entire bush. To prevent this from happening, the activation of growth should be prevented. To do this, on a dry day, the rhododendron bush is treated with a solution of 1% potassium sulfate or monophosphate using a fine spray. This procedure will reduce the growth rate of the bush and contribute to the woodiness of its shoots. In addition, potassium and phosphorus will help the plant form flower buds for the next year. But after such treatment, the rhododendron ceases to be watered, even if the temperature remains high outside and there is no rain.
- If there are fears that the plantings will still freeze, even frost-resistant varieties can be additionally covered. For this, a metal mesh frame is placed around the bush. It is wrapped in spunbond and secured with twine. Such a shelter will protect the bush not only from frost, but also from the thickness of snow..
Useful properties of rhododendron
Rhododendron is not only a very beautiful, but also a useful shrub. It has a number of medicinal properties that make it possible to use it in medicine both for the creation of official medicines and for folk remedies. Many types of rhododendron contain andromedotoxin, arbutin and a special substance rhododendrin. Shrub foliage is rich in ascorbic acid. This composition gives the plant the properties of an anesthetic, antipyretic and sedative. In addition, it is able to fight bacteria, promote the removal of excess moisture from the body and relieve swelling. Rhododendron can also lower blood pressure and improve heart function.
But self-medication should be avoided. It should also be remembered that not everyone can use drugs based on rhododendron. They are not recommended for patients with kidney disease, tissue necrosis. Pregnant women and nursing mothers should not rely on the flower either. Any funds that include rhododendron substances require a mandatory agreement with a doctor..