Western North Carolina has an exceptional climate for a myriad of plants. One of the most beautiful evergreens that bespeckle our mountainsides are Rhododendrons.
Rhododendrons come in a variety of colorful blooms ranging from deep fuchsia, to pinks, purples and whites. Rhododendrons can be either evergreen or deciduous and a popular subgenera of these beautiful, hardy plants are azaleas. One of the most lovely of the rhododendrons found in Asheville’s natural habitat is the Flame Azalea.
The key to keeping your healthy plants from Lynn’s Nursery is knowing what type of soil conditions, how much sunlight and drainage is needed for your rhododendrons to thrive.
Like orchids, rhododendrons are epiphytes (plants that derive their moisture and nutrients from the air) and require well-drained soil so that their roots are exposed to air circulation. Placing your new rhododendron in a raised bed will help alleviate poor soil drainage.
Finding the right spot to plant your rhododendrons requires looking at the light conditions of your yard. With more sunlight, hybrid rhododendrons will be able to harden off and more easily withstand frost. If placed in more shadowed areas, rhododendrons will become leggy and produce less flowering blooms. Large-leaved rhododendrons do not tolerate a lot of sun. Planting placement is important for your foliage to thrive. (source: Planting Rhododendrons)
Preferring more acidic soil, rhododendrons are happiest when they are planted near pine trees and/or mulched with pine bark. Mulching and careful watering are important, most especially before the plant is established. Preparing the soil properly is the best preparation for planting any plant to be bedded. You simply cannot add enough fertilizer and water to make up for poor soil.
Nitrogen encourages leaf growth. Phosphorus encourages roots and flowers. Potassium encourages general vigor. If one of the nutrients is not available, then plant growth will be slower or stunted, and leaves will be discolored. For example, lack of nitrogen causes the old leaves to turn yellow. Lack of iron causes the new leaves to be yellow. Nutrient deficiencies usually form patterns on the leaves that follow the vein patterns: sometimes along the veins, sometimes between the veins. Disease symptoms do not follow the veins. (source: Improving Soil)
For questions regarding growing tips on rhododendrons and azeleas, please contact Lynn’s Nursery for advice. We carry a wide variety of rhododendrons and azeleas in our wholesale nursery near Asheville, North Carolina and are more than happy to help guide you in selecting the best plants for your landscaping projects.