Ask a Question forum→Rhododendron help

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manchester uk
Dekh
May 25, 2020 1:28 PM CST
Hi
My 4 year old Rhododendron flowered this year for first time, heloed i think by ensuring more light and good feed. Happy that it has now bloomed but looks a little leggy and gappy, any afvice re pruning please, how and when? Want it to look more full.
Regards
Derek.
Re
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Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
American Orchid Society Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
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BigBill
May 25, 2020 2:38 PM CST
What ever you do, do not be so quick to do so. I had rhododendrons for all of my adult life. They are acid loving plants. A soil acidifier would help. For years I used Mir-Acid fertilizer. Once in early May, once in mid June, and again in early August.
The other critical thing that you need to do is to "deadhead" the plant. You have to remove as many of the old flowers as you can. If you don't, they will produce seeds and produce fewer buds.
Be careful removing the old flowers because the new growths or branches arise from the same place.
If your soil is not acidic enough, they won't bloom as well. They like the soil 5.2 to 5.8. The beauty of a Rhododendron is not in a perfect shape, the beauty lies in the number of flowers produced. You correct the soil acidity, deadhead the old blooms and I guarantee it will fill out and bloom like crazy!!!! 😜
Rodney Wilcox Jones, my idol!
Businessman, Orchid grower, hybridizer, lived to 107!
[Last edited by BigBill - May 25, 2020 2:43 PM (+)]
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manchester uk
Dekh
May 25, 2020 2:50 PM CST
Thanks Big Bill, did add some pellets around the base for acid loving plants and currently giving a liquid feed once a fortnight. Will remove old flowers as advised by you, does that include any buds that do not open?
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
American Orchid Society Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
Image
BigBill
May 25, 2020 3:13 PM CST
Yes.
If you do not dead head, you may see one or two new branches develop. By deadheading you may get, three, or four new branches develop. Each new branch tip is a potential bloomer. It is a classic geometric progression.
If your little guy produces a hundred branch tips and 20% bloom, that is only 20 flowers. But if you get 250 branch tips and 20% bloom that is 40 flowers. You carry that forward a few years and you'll be swimming in flowers!! Good luck!!!
Rodney Wilcox Jones, my idol!
Businessman, Orchid grower, hybridizer, lived to 107!
Name: Luis
Hurst, TX, U.S.A. (Zone 8a)
Dog Lover Region: Texas Salvias Roses Hibiscus Plumerias
luis_pr
May 25, 2020 4:19 PM CST
Some sun prevents them from getting leggy and trying to reach for the sun. Pinching can also help fill certain areas of the bush. However, the plant on the picture still has unopened flower buds so wait until blooming has completely ended.
[Last edited by luis_pr - May 26, 2020 7:41 AM (+)]
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manchester uk
Dekh
May 26, 2020 2:01 AM CST
Will do Luis, thanks for your advice. We are getting quite a bit of sun at the moment which is not the norm in rainy Manchester UK. Smiling
Regards
Derek

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