An azalea or rhododendron may be used as a specimen plant in the landscape, but it usually looks its best when used as a part of the overall landscape planting scheme. They may be grouped together for a spectacular early spring display, or placed with other plants.
When you select your plant, be mindful of the overall size it will attain at maturity and give the plants sufficient room to grow. Azaleas and rhododendron varieties may vary greatly in terms of mature size.
Rhododendrons and azaleas can be found in all parts of the U.S. The plants we sell at Dundee are all hardy in Zone 4A which covers the Twin Cities area.
Rhododendrons and azaleas should be planted in a place that is protected from hot afternoon sun. The location must also have excellent drainage. One of the biggest keys to successfully growing these plants is excellent drainage! Protection from winter winds is also desirable, but if the plants are exposed to such winds, they can be protected with burlap through the winter.
Azaleas and rhododendrons like acidic soil. pH should be 5.5. You should test your soil prior to planting to determine the pH so you’ll know whether of not you will need to add sulphur at planting time. Dig a hole at least as deep as the soil that surrounds your potted plant. The hole should also be twice as wide as the root ball.
Remove the plant from the container. Loosen the outer roots so they will make good contact with the backfill. If the plant is quite root bound, hose off the soil to help loosen the roots. If the root ball is dry, give it a good soaking before planting. When the plant is positioned in the hole and the roots are spread out, create a backfill of 1/2 native soil and 1/2 peat moss plus any sulphur you may need to acidify the soil. Fill only to the top of the soil of the root ball - do not cover the stem. Water thoroughly. If soil settles, you can add more backfill. Protect your plant with a layer of organic mulch. Create a mound of mulch that encourages water to drain in toward the root ball.
If your plant requires pruning, it should be done in the spring after it has flowered as these will bloom on old wood. Fertilize annually with an acid fertilizer.
Remember your plant needs sufficient water and provide it during periods of drought and in the late fall until the ground freezes.
Click Azaleas and Rhododendrons Fact Sheet for a printable version of this page.
The printable page of this Fact Sheet is a .pdf file that you can browse or print. You will need the Adobe reader to access this file. It's available free at www.adobe.com