The Q&A Archives: Transplanting Rhodedendrons

Question: We live in the Akron, Ohio area and we have a large red rhodedendron in the front of the picture window which is now as high as our one story home. Is it reasonable to transplant this beautiful plant to the back yard without killing it and when is the best time of the year to do this?

Answer: Unfortunately, I don't think it is feasible to transplant your rhododendron. You could however consider cutting it back very short to rejuvenate it. This would be done in late winter or very early spring before it starts to grow for the year. There will be no flowers that year as it blooms on buds that form the previous year, but thereafter it should grow and bloom nicely since it already has an established root system. From then on, you would selectively prune as needed to keep it within bounds, each year removing some of the longest stems right after it blooms. There is some risk involved, as the shock might possibly kill the plant, but generally this approach is successful.

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