March plant of the moment
Was this guide useful?
Rhododendrons & azaleas
Rhododendrons and azaleas belong to the genus Rhododendron and are perfect for brightening up shady gardens. March is a great time to plant them and if you already have some early flowering varieties in your garden, you may see their spectacular blooms appearing this month.
All rhododendrons are ericaceous, which means they don’t like to grow in alkaline soil, preferring an acidic soil with a low pH value. You can use a soil testing kit to assess the suitability of your soil.
By planting rhododendrons in containers or raised beds you can manage the soil they’re growing in. It’s important to use a good quality soil-based ericaceous compost, which will be rich and nutritious with a pH value between 4.5 and 5.5.
- Mulching around the plants with a couple of inches of chipped bark keeps down weeds and helps seal in moisture.
- If you grow rhododendrons and azaleas in containers, make sure they’re always kept gently moist and never dry out.
- After flowering, nip off the faded blossom trusses with your fingers or snip them off with secateurs, taking care not to cut past the first leaf where next year’s buds will be forming.
- Remove any branches that appear dead or are crossing or rubbing against each other.