Blooming rhododendrons can transform an ordinary garden into a magical sight. With the right care, this plant will bloom luxuriantly and brightly, and beautify the landscape for a long time..
Features of the varieties of rhododendron
The rhododendron genus has many stunning shrubs and stunted trees. On some varieties, wintering evergreen leaves, on others, the leaves fall and grow again the next season..
If you choose an evergreen, then the leaves on it can last from 3 to 5 years. On wintering varieties, the leaves last only one year, and on falling ones you can admire them from spring to autumn..
Depending on the variety, the leaves can be spear-shaped, round or elliptical. Flowers also boast a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. They are collected in corymbose inflorescences.
The homeland of rhododendrons is in the Far East and in the mountain forests of Japan and China. Deciduous varieties are more suitable for the harsh Russian climate. Among them are Lemon Lights. It reaches up to one and a half meters in height. The flowers are lemon-colored and have a pleasant aroma..
Cold-resistant varieties also include Nothern Hi-Lights. Flowers appear on them in late spring. In addition to them, varieties suitable for cold regions include:
- Mandarin Lights;
- Peter Tigerstedt;
For your plot, it is better to choose varieties that came from Finnish nurseries, since they are distinguished by the greatest endurance, which cannot be said about representatives of the species from Holland..
The more leaves on the rhododendron, the more difficult it will be to endure the cold. It is difficult for such plants to withstand drafts and winds. In addition, they will constantly need high humidity, which will complicate their care..
The most suitable care for rhododendrons
In order to keep the necessary care for the rhododendron to a minimum, it is necessary to carefully choose the place for planting the plant. The soil must be prepared in a special way and mulched..
Especially in the first year, it is important that the bushes do not feel a lack of moisture. Watering rhododendrons is necessary with soft, settled water. Better if it will be recruited from a river, pond or from a rainwater tank.
You need to loosen the soil carefully and at some distance from the plant itself. The roots of the bush are very delicate and can be easily damaged with garden tools. Weeds should be pulled out by hand.
Like most other plants, rhododendron responds well to fertilization. It is best for him to use mineral dressing. Liquid varieties will be optimal because they are designed specifically for such plants..
Granular fertilizers can also be used. They are usually used dry, simply scattering in equal portions one matchbox per 1 sq. M. This amount will be enough for a small plant up to 50 cm in height. As the shrub grows, the amount of fertilizer increases.
Top dressing must be carried out from the beginning of May to the 20th of June every 2 weeks. After that, at the end of the month, the plant is fertilized again with potassium sulfate dissolved in water. The proportions are calculated based on the age of the plant. Until the end of summer, you no longer need to fertilize the plant..
It is better not to use long-acting fertilizers, as they are designed for a long warm period of the year. The result of such an illiterate feeding will be secondary growth and freezing of new shoots..
Also, to avoid secondary growth at the end of August, you need to reduce watering. If the weather is rainy, then the bushes need not be watered at all. To avoid fungus, you need to treat rhododendrons with special substances twice a season..
During flowering, it is necessary to regularly remove wilted flowers. Useful in a dry season will often spray the bushes..
In addition, twice a year, the land under the bush must be mulched with pine sawdust. This will avoid rapid drying of the soil and reduce acidity..
Which place is suitable for rhododendrons
A place for planting rhododendron bushes must be chosen taking into account the fact that the plant cannot stand winds and sudden changes in temperature. Therefore, a flower bed must be reliably protected from both the sun and the wind..
There should be no trees with a shallow root system near rhododendron bushes:
Such «neighbors» will take away food and moisture from flowers, destroying them. Nearby you can plant pines or oaks, as well as fruit trees. In any case, the rhododendrons must be outside the crown cover so that precipitation in sufficient quantities to feed the bushes.
Planting rhododendrons on the site
Thanks to the fibrous root system, when the seedlings are removed from the pot correctly, the rhododendron can be easily transplanted into the ground. In this case, plants need to organize good drainage..
The best option would be to build high beds at a level of 10-15 cm. This will avoid damage to the plant by spring floods. You can save the soil from creeping with stones..
It is also important to correctly prepare the substrate for planting. It should be acidic enough within the pH range of 4.5-5.5. In addition, it should be moderately loose and breathable..
The composition can include high-moor peat, loam and the same part of the pine litter. Another option consists of garden soil and two parts of sphagnum sour peat. Instead of garden soil, you can use clay, but 2 times less in volume.
A compact root system will allow the plant to be content with a small hole with a diameter of 60 cm.It is enough to plunge into a depth of 40 cm.The free space around the earthen coma is filled with a substrate and compacted.
How to prepare rhododendrons for the winter season
The approach to preparing for wintering will depend entirely on the climate of a particular region. In most regions, training can begin as early as mid-August.
In dry autumn, the rhododendron needs to be watered in order to create a supply of water in the leaves for the winter. One-time watering should be abundant.
Many varieties do not require shelter for the winter. They perfectly tolerate snow and scorching sun. Coniferous varieties of rhododendron are less resistant and need special care.
After the onset of persistent cold weather, rhododendrons should be covered. Lush bushes are tied with a rope in a denser sheaf.
Spruce or pine branches are placed in the middle of the resulting structure. After that, you can put the frame on top. This can be a hut on which a burlap cloth is laid..
You can remove the shelter at the end of April. It is important that the snow has already melted by this time. The main thing is to do it in stages, airing the bushes..
For complete removal of the frame, it is better to choose an overcast day. It is better to leave the branches for a short time to protect them from the bright sun. After a few days, when the plant gets used to it and they can be removed.
If you approach the care of rhododendron with due attention, then stunning bright shrubs will decorate any area.