The key is to regularly water newly-planted plants, at least bimonthly for two months. It is also important to ensure adequate spacing between bushes, which is determined by a shrub's eventual height and spread.
Bare root and containerised plants have differing planting requirements. With bare root, it is important to soak the roots in water for up to two hours before planting, and with containerised plants, you should drench their rootball. For bare root plants, it is also beneficial to prune any woody roots back a few inches, and if you have a containerised plant, you should free any spiralized roots that are growing around the rootball's circumference. When planting, bare root plants need a graft point that is above the soil, but for containerised plants, it is better to have their pot sitting no less than an inch below the ground.
Bare root and containerised plants also share some of their planting needs; dig a hole twice the radius of the rootball, and fill the hole with a mix of compost and garden soil. After this, add fertiliser and mycorrhizal fungi. After providing a generous watering, you can finish with a later of mulch, but keep it from touching your plant's stems.
Apply fertiliser and replace decomposed mulch come spring. Collect fallen leaves in autumn.
When compared to other popular shrubs, your Rhododendron will need a little more attention. Below we address some common query topics:
- Hardiness: Rhododendron species can mostly be found in temperate regions such as the Himalayas, so are well suited to the UK's climate.
- Position: Rhododendrons thrive in dappled shade, so a few hours of sunlight a day will be perfectly sufficient. If you are to plant in full sun, be sure to apply mulch, which protects their delicate roots from strong sunlight.
- Soil: Rhododendrons are suited to acidic soils below 5.5pH, and anything above this will reduce the amount of nutrients they can absorb. You can increase the acidity of your soil by watering with rainwater and using pine needles, conifer bark, and ericaceous compost as mulch.
- Pots: Planting in pots is recommended as it can be difficult to maintain acidity in garden soil. Using ericaceous compost (and ericaceous fertiliser) is essential, but it may need replacing once in a while.