Rhododendrons

Rhododendrons

The rhododendron bush is an attractive, blooming specimen in many landscapes and is fairly low maintenance when planted properly. Growing rhododendron successfully requires the proper planting spot for the rhododendron bush. Proper soil preparation is also necessary for the health of this acid loving plant. Unlike many blooming plants, rhododendron does not like full morning sun in winter and does best when planted in dappled shade on the north side of a building. Growing rhododendrons are happiest in a location protected from the wind and not under eves of a building.

Azaleas

Azaleas

Azaleas prefer cool, partially shaded sites, such as the filtered shade of pine trees. Azaleas are shallow-rooted plants that are easily damaged by excessive soil moisture. They grow best in acid (4.5 to 6.0 pH), well-drained, organic soils. Before planting, have the soil tested and adjust the pH according to soil test results. To determine when to water, pull back a small area of mulch near the base of the plant and check the moisture level of the root ball and surrounding soil. If the top few inches of soil feels dry, wet the soil deeply, to at least a depth of 6 to 8 inches. Azaleas have low nutritional requirements compared to other shrubs. A soil amended with organic matter prior to planting followed by a mulch of compost, shredded leaves, pine straw or other organic material will usually provide sufficient nutrients for adequate growth.

Forsythias

Forsythias

First thing for forsythia shrub care is that forsythias enjoy full sun. Make sure your forsythia bush gets at least six hours of sunlight a day. While it can tolerate less than this, your forsythia’s ability to flower will be reduced if it does not get full sun. While forsythia bushes like well-draining soil, they also grow best of watered regularly. Forsythias should receive at least 2 inches (5 cm.) of water a week. You should also fertilize when caring for forsythia in the spring in summer, never in the fall or winter. Good care of forsythia also requires that forsythia bushes should be pruned yearly.

Andromeda

Andromeda

The best Andromeda growing conditions include a site with full to partial shade and rich, well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter and an acidic pH. If your soil isn’t particularly rich, work in a thick layer of compost before planting. If necessary, amend the soil with an azalea or camellia fertilizer to add nutrients and adjust the pH level. Japanese andromeda bushes won’t tolerate alkaline soil. Water the shrub often enough to keep the soil lightly moist at all times. Water slowly, allowing the soil to soak up as much moisture as possible. Fertilize in winter and early summer with a fertilizer designed for acid-loving plants, using the amount recommended on the package.