The Q&A Archives: Rhodies

Question: Have 3 rhodies, the old fashioned pinkish/purple flowers. Planted about 5 years ago. Good spring flowers; however can count the leaves on one hand. Hence -- they are ugly plants. What can I do to encourage more greenery and enhance the value of the shurb to my garden?

Answer: Since new leaves develop on new growth, rhodies that are not pruned will become leggy and not very attractive. The best time to prune is immediately after the plants have finished flowering. This is because the leaf and flower buds are formed directly behind the old flower trusses. They take all summer to develop for the following spring's floral display. You can prune your rhodies back now, but you may sacrifice next spring's flowers. If that doesn't matter to you, go ahead and prune. If it does matter, wait until next spring to prune, after the flowers have faded. You can trim your rhodies back by one-third of their size, or less if they are small. Pruning will encourage new foliage on the lower parts of the bare branches as well as a flush of new stems and leaves wherever you prune.

Best wishes with your rhodies!

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