9 REASONS WHY RHODODENDRONS AND AZALEAS CAN FAIL TO THRIVE

Rhododendrons and Azaleas can look fantastic when purchased from the garden center, but later once they have been planted in your garden they may fail to thrive. Often when you buy the plants they will be blooming and will provide a great show while the flowers last, but when you anticipate a similar display the next year you may be disappointed. Mike McGroarty from Mike’s Backyard Nursery has been told by many of his customers that rhododendrons don’t do well for them. In fact these plants are quite easy to grow as Mike explains in this article which I found on his website.

Believe it or not, Rhododendrons and Azaleas are quite easy to grow and it only takes a few things to make them happy.? There?s a fundamental secret about growing Rhododendrons in your yard or your landscape that cannot be overlooked and it cannot be stated strongly enough.? Here it is . . .

Spring Parade Rhododendron.
Spring Parade Rhododendron

Rhododendrons Do Not Like Wet Feet!

They cannot tolerate any kind of moisture standing or collecting around their root systems.? If you have a rhododendron or rhododendrons in your landscape that are struggling go outside, stand back and look very closely at the location of your rhododendrons and run through this check list.
1.? What is the soil like in the planting bed?
2.? Is it good topsoil that drains really well?
3.? If you take a shovel and scoop out a shovel of soil from that area will the soil easily crumble into a small pile of soil, or will it remain in one solid lump?
4.? Is your rhododendron near a downspout or does the gutter overflow anywhere near your Rhododendrons?
5.? Is the rhododendron near the back of the bed and has the soil in that area settled to the point that it is lower than the surrounding areas of the bed?
6.? Do you have an automatic watering system in the bed or do you regularly water the plants in that bed?
7.? How much mulch do you have in that bed?
8.? Do you ever loosen the mulch in the bed or just keep re-apply fresh mulch over what?s there?
9.? How deep were your Rhododendrons planted when originally installed in the landscape?
All of these things can contribute to an environment that is not super healthy for Rhododendrons and other plants, especially evergreens and Japanese maples.

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