Plant of the Month: March

RHODODENDRON & AZALEAS

Our plants of the month are the rhododendron and the azalea, which will soon be bursting into bloom. They make beautiful plants in the garden, and there are stunning houseplant varieties too. You can create the wow factor with flower shades that match all tastes, from light pink to dark red, purple, cream and white.

Healthy rhododendron and azalea have loads of colour, supported with lush green hardy foliage. They are usually at their best from April to June, so plant them now and watch them come into their prime over the growing season.

They are both ericaceous, or acid-loving. If you don’t have acid soil, plant them with generous amounts of ericaceous compost, because both the rhodo and azalea are acid-loving plants that thrive in moist, well-drained ericaceous soil. Use chipped bark around the base as the roots are quite close to the surface.

Once they are established, treat them to a liquid ericaceous fertiliser every couple of weeks right through the flowering season. Acid-loving plants don’t like tap water unless it has been boiled and cooled. Rainwater is ideal, so invest in a water butt if you don’t already have one.

They look stunning in containers, which is a good option if you don’t have naturally ericaceous soil. They like space to grow so don’t crowd them with other plants, but planting companions include the acer, flowering cherry, hydrangea and magnolia. As mentioned, the rhododendron and azalea make beautiful houseplants too.

The rhododendron is originally from woodland, so prefers a shady position. It can look good planted in front of a taller shrub that will give it shade. In a sheltered spot it takes very little care.

It’s Mother’s Day on the 14th, so why not choose a blooming gorgeous shrub for a gift? 

Plant of the Month: March | Rhododendron | Garsons

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