The Q&A Archives: Restricting Rhododendron Height

Question: I would like to know if it is possible to limit the height of my Jean Marie de Montague rhodies by selective pruning. I believe their natural height in my area (Pacific Northwest) is in the 5-8 foot range. Is there a way to keep them looking good, but shorter? As long as they are healthy and have good shape, I don't mind losing a few blooms each season to accomplish this. I have five new ones under my front window, which are about 24", but if I let them grow to full size they will eventually cover most of the window!

Answer: Rhododendron catawbiense 'Jean Marie de Montague'is one of the smaller cultivars, with a compact growing habit. You can keep the plants small by pruning, but you'll have to be careful in removing shoots or you'll remove the bloom, as well. It's always better to choose a plant that will fit a spot in the landscape rather than trying to alter the growth habit of a potentially larger plant. But, since you've already chosen and planted your rhodies, careful maintenance should make you, and the plants relatively happy.

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