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.
When Jack Benny has a party, you not only bring your own scotch, you bring
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.
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.
-A man walks into a bar with a slab of asphalt under his arm and says: "A
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?
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.
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>.
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