The Q&A Archives: Planting Rhododendrons

Question: Will rhododendrons grow well in containers and, if not, where should I plant them outdoors, how far apart, and what fertilizer should I use?

Answer: Rhododendrons are best grown directly in the ground in a well-drained site that's sheltered from morning sun and drying winds. North-facing and west-facing slopes are ideal. Consider the mature size of the varieties you purchased and allow enough room for them to spread.

These plants prefer acid soil with a pH of about 4.5-5. You can have your soil tested (many garden centers and nurseries provide this service) and then you'll know if you need to apply sulfur to lower the pH. Rhododendrons like lots of organic matter in the soil, especially leaf mold. With the correct pH and good soil, you shouldn't need to fertilize young plants. If the plants don't seem to be growing well, an acid fertilizer, such as Miracid, would be appropriate. Good luck with your new plants!

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