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Lawn & Garden

Rhododendron spp.

Common Name: Rhododendron

Type: shrub

Family: Ericaceae

Zone: 4 to 8     Find Your Zone

Height: 6 to 12 feet

Width: 6 to 12 feet

Bloom Time: late winter to early summer

Bloom Color: reds, pinks, oranges, coral, white, yellow, Purples

Sun exposure: shade to semi-shade

Soil: well drained, Acidic

Leaves: evergreen

Fertilizer: Holly-tone and ACR food for acid loving plants

Pruning: If you must prune this slow growing plant then you will want to do it right after it blooms. Like Azaleas, Rhododendrons bloom off of old growth and set bud for next years flowers immediately after flowering.

Because there are over 3000 species, all of which are magnificent, I will write on the species as a whole. This amazing plant grows native here in the mountains of Georgia. It has a great tolerance to shade and grows on mountain sides and by streams beside the mountain laurels. These beautiful evergreens are related to the Azalea and can grow to be shorter than 1 foot tall and as tall as 20 feet.


Rhododendron has similar flowers as the Azalea, only they grow in clusters and are more bell-shaped. All parts of the rhododendron are toxic if eaten. What makes Rhododendrons different than azaleas is that Rhododendrons only have 5 anthers per flower. There are some species of Rhododendrons that are deciduous. Check out our other Shade Loving Shrubs.


STEP 1: Digging the hole

  • Find a location that has suitable sun exposure for your particular type of plant.
  • Dig your hole an inch or two shallower than the rootball of the plant.
  • Dig the hole twice the diameter of the rootball.
  • Scuff up the sides of the hole with a shovel to help roots break through the native soil.

STEP 2: Putting plant in hole

  • When removing the plant from the pot, check to see if the roots were circling the pot.
  • If the plant is rootbound, gently break up the roots with your hands until loosened up.
  • Set plant level, in the center of the hole.
  • Make sure the top of the rootball is just above soil level.

STEP 3: Amending the soil and filling in the hole

  • Amend the soil with proper amendments for your soil type. 
  • Incorporate 50% native soil with 50% amendment soils like garden soil, composted manure or soil conditioner.
  • Make sure dirt clods are broken up or removed from hole along with rocks.
  • Fill the hole with soils to the soil level and pack down. Do not cover top of rootball with dirt.
  • Water in thoroughly to remove air pockets.

STEP 4: Mulching and fertilizing

  • Cover the planting site with at least 2 inches of the mulch of your choice (pinestraw, cupress mulch,etc.)
  • High Phosphorus root stimulator fertilizers like Quick Start from Miracle Gro are great to use at time of planting.

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Posted 2015-09-03T16:04:59+0000  by Ingar_HD_ATL Ingar_HD_ATL