April plant of the month

April plant of the month

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Rhododendrons and Azaleas

With spectacular spring flowers clustered together around these superb shrubs, Rhododendrons and Azaleas come in a variety of sizes and will give structure and a burst of colour to most gardens.

Hardiness:

Mostly hardy

Soil:

Rhododendrons and Azaleas need an acid soil, ideally between pH 4.5-6, they also need an open soil mixture which can be achieved with organic matter such as leaf mould. If you have an alkaline soil, it’s easier to grow them in containers with an ericaceous compost.

Size:

Check the label on the variety you choose as they can vary in size dramatically with dwarf alpine varieties perfect for rock gardens while large varieties holding their own against trees in woodland gardens.

Positioning:

They like a sheltered, semi-shaded spot, but don’t favour deep shade beneath other trees, frost pockets or morning sun. They can tolerate a more open site if they’re sheltered from the wind.

Watering:

They prefer areas of high rainfall and don’t like hard tap water, but can cope with it for a few months if there is no rain water.

Flowers:

Clusters of beautiful trumpet-shaped flowers in a huge array of colours, some with frilled petals.

Planting:

It’s best to plant them in October or March to April.

Pruning:

They don’t need much pruning other than to remove dead wood and flowers.

Feeding:

In spring it can be helpful to give an application of ericaceous fertilizer as per the pack’s instructions.

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