14 Tips for Stunning Rhododendron Blooms This Season

7 Min Read

Rhododendron season is upon us, and lovers of flowers will know that now is the perfect time to visit the closest flower valley and take in the breathtaking sight of an abundance of blooming rhododendron.

Here’s the place to go if you want to prolong the flowering season of your rhododendrons! Rhodies are lovely shrubs with long blooms, but there are several things you can do to prolong their beauty. Here are some tips to make sure your rhodies bloom throughout the entire season!

Choose the Right Location

Choose a location for your rhododendron planting in your garden where the conditions don’t change much from season to season. All year long, it’s crucial to have dappled sunshine and wind protection.

When deciduous trees lose their leaves in the winter, rhododendrons planted beneath them will get much more sunshine. Ensuring your rhodies have a suitable place is essential to ensuring they endure and you don’t have to replace them every season.

Mulch for Moisture

Mulch at the base of your rhododendron will help it retain moisture inside and around the plant. When mulched properly, weeds will be turned off.

Vegetation adjacent to weeds can absorb a significant amount of water. Rhododendrons are especially vulnerable due to their shallow and fibrous roots.

Maintain a Regular Watering Schedule

Rhododendrons have shallow roots; therefore, having moist soil nearby is important! Though it’s easy to forget about your rhododendrons once the blossom season is done, summer is the most important time to water them.

Every week, rhododendrons need to be watered by around one inch. You might need to water your plants more frequently, depending on your environment and the weather. If unsure how much water your rhododendron has received, use a rain gauge or stick your finger about an inch below it to check the moisture level.

Provide Just Enough Sunlight

While most rhododendrons enjoy being in the shade, they need sunlight to set flower buds. They won’t consistently produce lovely blooms if they don’t get enough sunlight. They also can’t be planted in an area with excessive sunlight, or they’ll become crispy and wither away.

Fertilize Carefully

Rhododendrons may benefit from a fertilizer application. But when you apply, you have to use caution. Rhododendrons are especially vulnerable to fertilizer burn issues due to the shallow and fibrous nature of their roots.

Applying an acid-loving plant fertilizer, like Holly tone, in the spring or autumn is recommended if you choose to fertilize your rhododendrons.

Add Compost When Needed

It seems obvious to me to add compost to your gardens. In addition to providing your plants with much-needed nutrients, compost adds organic matter to your soil, improving its structure.

Rhododendrons like their soil damp but not soggy. By including compost, you can help the soil surrounding your rhododendrons retain moisture without causing the roots to become overly wet.

Deadhead Spent Blooms

Deadheading your rhododendrons won’t make them rebloom in a single season, unlike many other perennial plants. Eliminating the spent blooms, however, will assist the rhododendron in directing its energy towards different things, such as the development of buds for the following year.

It’s easy to deadhead rhododendrons. To cut just below the blossom, you can use garden shears or your fingers. Wear gardening gloves or be ready to clean up after yourself—this can get sticky!

Only Prune as Needed

If you want to manage your rhododendron’s size or shape, you can prune it. It is advisable to remove any branches in the early spring, including any that may have become damaged or dead throughout the winter.

Pruning will assist the plant in concentrating its energy on developing buds during flowering rather than trying to restore some of those unhealthy branches.

Regularly Monitor Your Soil

Soils with acidity are ideal for rhododendron growth. They also adore soil with lots of organic materials and good drainage. In their natural environments, which are covered in pine needles and leaf litter, rhododendrons thrive in these circumstances.

To find out where your soil falls, use a soil pH sensor. You can add wettable sulfur to your soil to adjust it if it’s a little too alkaline. Avoid using aluminum sulfate, as it can be harmful to rhododendron plants.

Monitor Daily for Insects

Rhododendrons often face a variety of insects during their growing season, such as spider mites, lace bugs, and black vine weevils. Let’s look at each pest that you should be aware of.

Black Vine Weevil

Black vine weevils are a typical garden pest that adores rhododendrons. They will eat all parts of rhododendrons, from roots to leaves and everything in between, for the rest of their existence. Small holes without any visible insects could be indicators of the black vine weevil. They are feeders of the night, which explains this.

Beneficial nematodes may be used to treat black vine weevils, in addition to maintaining your garden free of grub-hiding places like leaf litter or old mulch.

Lace Bugs

The flying insects known as lace bugs, which resemble lace, can damage rhododendrons. These flying insects are most active in July and August and love to feed on plants that are stressed by the heat. If you notice little yellow dots on your leaves and eggs on the underside, you might have a lace insect infestation.

The bug itself will be visible to you as it flies around your rhododendrons. Using a broad-spectrum pesticide is the first step in treating lace bugs, but you will need to reapply it often and according to the directions on the label.

Spider Mites

Two tiny black dots on their backs help you identify spider mites, which are little insects. The webbing that spider mites employ to shield themselves and their eggs is by far the most obvious sign of the infestation, rather than the actual bug. It will appear as though your rhododendron leaves are speckled.

Spider mite treatment is simple. Using your garden hose to squirt your afflicted plant can instantly destroy the mites. Mites can be avoided by giving your rhododendrons enough water. Mites choose plants that are stressed by drought; the healthier the plant, the fewer mites it will have!

Monitor Weekly for Diseases

The most typical diseases that affect rhododendrons include petal blight, leaf gall, fungal dieback, and chlorosis. Winterburn is not a “true” disease, but it can nevertheless lead to issues. Let’s examine the most prevalent illnesses to keep an eye out for.


Chlorosis in rhododendrons is prevalent. You have had chlorosis if your rhododendrons have ever had yellow leaves, but the veins remain green.

This typically occurs as a result of low iron levels in your soil. This should not be mistaken for the normal dropping of older leaves, which will be completely yellow and located closer to the center of the plant.

It’s best to do a soil test before adding anything, just like you would with any soil amendment. You can apply wettable sulfur to reduce the pH of the soil if the test results show that it contains enough iron. You can also move the rhododendron to a better location if this isn’t a good alternative for you.

Fungal Dieback

This is a potentially fatal fungal disease for your rhododendrons, despite what the name may suggest. You may have fungal dieback if you discover one or two fully dead branches on a rhododendron in your garden that you would normally assume are healthy.

A branch that is afflicted might have its bark scraped to identify the disease at your house. Your plant is healthy if the underside is green; if it is red, fungal dieback is present.

The best course of action for trying to treat this condition is to prune out the affected branches. Using a copper fungicide would be the next step.

Leaf Gall

Your rhododendron leaves may develop a fungal ailment called leaf gall. When leaves grow twisted and thicken, it can be an indication of a leaf gall. This will cause the leaves to harden and turn white. The affected leaves can be manually removed.

Petal Blight

This fungus targets the petals of your rhododendron plants. It will begin as tiny brown dots on your petals and spread quickly. I’m pretty sure your blooms are gone for the year. The fungus will continue to spread once the petals fall off.

The best defence against this fungus is to maintain a debris-free garden. You may greatly reduce the number of fallen, diseased petals by raking them up and removing them from your plants.

Winter Burn

Winter burns are frequent, although they’re not a medical condition. Nonetheless, a lot of producers of rhododendrons deal with this problem frequently. This generally happens as a result of insufficient water throughout the winter. You might observe huge brown splotches on the leaves as a sign of winter burn.

Watering your rhododendron regularly will be crucial. Rhododendrons that receive excessive amounts of sunlight or wind during the winter months are frequently victims of winter burns.

Make sure that the environment in which your plant is developing does not undergo significant seasonal changes. It is possible to apply anti-desiccants to help stop water loss via the plant’s leaves.

Protect them in winter

Early April will see a blanket of bloom buds covering these lovely plants. A late, sharp frost can kill those buds, even if they are extremely cold-tolerant.

It’s not necessary to cover rhododendrons throughout the winter; in fact, the cold is what they need to thrive. It is a good idea to have some hessian or other plant fabric close by to shield and cover the buds in the event of a later spring frost. This will guarantee that they thrive to the fullest and avoid injury!

Be Patient with Them

Do not panic if you are dealing with a rhododendron that has missed its flowering season. Think about your rhododendron’s age and kind. Young rhododendrons could take a season or two to settle into their new surroundings before they begin to blossom as profusely as you would want.

Certain rhododendron species, on the other hand, do not always blossom. Examine your plant tag and complete a little homework assignment to determine if you should anticipate flowers every spring or every other spring.


You’ve prepared yourself for a successful rhododendron season if you’ve heeded this advice. Although the flowering season of these springtime bloomers is brief, you can prolong it with appropriate care and maintenance.

You may prolong the flowering season of these stunning shrubs by using some of the advice provided in this article!



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