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If in Doubt - Pot Them
Rhododendrons & Azaleas
Member Name: Thailui
Rhododendrons & Azaleas
Date: 09/05/04, updated on 16/10/04 (1125 review reads)
Advantages: Fantastic flowers
Disadvantages: Intolerant of lime
If anyone were to ask me which was my favourite flower I would be hard put to give them an answer as there are so many that could fill that position. However, way up high on the list I would have to put Azaleas and Rhododendrons.
In fact, although there is a massive variety, Azaleas and Rhododendrons are classified as being the same species. They vary in the fact that they can either be evergreen or deciduous; they can grow into huge trees or grow to only a few inches high. Some have leaves that are four to five inches in length whilst others are about a quarter of an inch. The flowers also come in a huge variety of colours ranging through white, pink, red, yellow, orange, lilac and purple. I think the only colour that isn?t represented is blue ? although I could be wrong about that.
I learned, the hard way, some years ago that they wouldn?t survive in my garden although, at that time, I didn?t know why. They are all intolerant of lime in the soil, which is why I decided to try growing them in pots and this has, so far, been very successful, although the pots have now become huge tubs. The thing to remember is that you have to make sure they are planted in ericaceous compost. You also have to be aware that some of them become very big, so you must be prepared to re-pot as they grow.
You can buy them, well established, from garden centres where the price will usually depend on the variety and the size. I have seen them ranging from around £8 to £40 and possibly more. I won?t say that I have spent a lot on mine; in fact, I think most of them came from Woolworth?s and were probably reduced to about £1.50. However, with a bit of patience and TLC they have grown from about twelve inches to, in some cases, four to five feet. It has taken a few years of course, but is well worth the wait as when they flower it is a glorious sight. There is also the added advantage that you can move them about.
Generally, the la
rger evergreen varieties are the ones known as Rhododendrons. They have large exotic flowers, sometimes very fragrant, and they are perfectly at home growing in partial shade under trees. There is nothing more impressive than seeing the larger varieties growing in a forest. The larger Azaleas are usually deciduous, the leaves are smaller and although the flowers are still beautiful, they are not so big. They also prefer to be in the sun. The smaller Azaleas - which are usually evergreen ? make lovely plants for the patio as when they flower they are just a mass of colour and the blooms nearly smother the small leaves.
Most varieties flower in spring ? from April onwards. One of mine will be in full bloom in about a week; the others will be a bit later. Occasionally, you are lucky enough to have them bloom twice during the year. It is recommended that they should be ?dead-headed? after flowering in order to save strength for the following year.
I hope this will be of some help, when you see the show these plants produce it is well worth the effort ? and the wait.
Thank-you for reading.