rhododendrum care

I planted a large rhododendron in my semi shade planter. Heavy humus, a drip system to keep it slightly moist. Added appropriate rhododendron food once a week as per instructions.
Most of the gorgeous blooms are dropping now.
My question is, do you prune the stems of the petals, those little spikes left after the petals fall?
Or more correct question maybe: What kind of care should I give now? As some of the woody branches are hanging slightly, can I control the shape of the shrub by supporting those branches?
Please and thank you.
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FireBrick said:

Make sure that "slightly" is the operative word, there. They're not desert plants, and prefer a well-drained soil. They still like water, though. "Slightly moist" is a good target, but often over-used.

Sure.
Prune it as you see fit, to the shape you desire, if it's done blooming.

Or, if they're /that/ much "outta-whack", then prune them back. If there's too thick of a cluster of limbs in the center of the plant, it's a good time to thin those out, too. A good layer of mulch, up to but not against the plant, would be in order.
HTH
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"Eggs Zachtly"...

OK, here's my question build on this. I have huge rhododendrons around my deck. I have in the past pruned them back but not too much after flowering ends. No problem there. My thing here is that I have been afraid to cut them back 'too much'.
Is there such a thing as 'too much'? I would ideally like to cut them back to lower than on-the-deck head height and this might be cutting off a good third of the height. Will they branch out from old center wood? Thanks, Tomes
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Tomes said:

If they're done blooming, cut them back. A third is fine. Thinning out the center will allow better airflow to all parts of the exposed plant.
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Be aware that next years flowers are currently buds at the base of this years flowers. If you choose to prune them, no flowers next year.
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Shecki said:

[borked google quoting snipped]

Not true. The buds for /next/ year's blooms haven't formed yet. They form on this season's growth, but they don't "form at the base of this years flowers". And, they don't form until late summer/fall.
It also depends on the species. Large-leaf Rhodos don't have dormant buds below the new growth. Cutting past the new growth will keep it from flowering next season, but will rebound nicely the second year after pruning. Small-leaf Rhodos can be pruned at any point along the stem.

Again, it depends on the variety, and how drastically they're pruned. For the OP, with a Rhodo that is much larger than desired, it's probably a good idea to forgo blooms for a season, to get the plant "under control".
You can cut a Rhodo completely back to the ground, with no leaves left, and it will come back.
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"Eggs Zachtly" ...

Yep, I have trimmed off portions of branches on these plants and have the new branches produce flowers the following year. I just have not done so as drastically as I might just do this year. It is almost time.
This bit: "You can cut a Rhodo completely back to the ground, with no leaves left, and it will come back." is very comforting. It gives me some wiggle room <grin>. Thanks, Tomes
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Tomes said:

You're welcome. Good luck. And, be patient about the blooming next season. Make sure that you thin out the older, dead wood from the center. Good air circulation will do wonders for them. =)
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