The Q&A Archives: Rhododendren

Question: I have 3 Peter Tigersted rhododendren. They will be planted on the protected north side of our house, where they get full sun for part of the summer and full light throughout the summer. How close together should I plant them? Can you please suggest companion plans? Thanks.

Answer: This particular rhodendron grows to a range of 4 to 7 feet tall and wide. In a northern exposure I would expect them to reach the taller part of their range as they will stretch for the light. On the other hand, they may be stressed each winter by the northern winds unless you have a sheltered location so they may not grow to their full size potential. Your local professional nurseryman should be able to help you predict roughly what size they may reach in the location where you are planting them. These shrubs can be pruned selectively to control size if needed, so I would probably plant them about six to eight feet apart to allow for good air circulation and ample root spread.

Rhododendrons are very shallow rooted so you want to avoid root disturbance in the surrounding area. You also do not want to provide too much root competition for them while they are becoming established. You might use a long lived and low maintenance planting such as hardy ferns or smaller hostas in a contrasting foliage color to provide some additional interest. Enjoy your rhododendrons!

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