Head Gardener’s Tips for Growing Rhododendrons


Rhododendrons - Hever Castle

The Rhododendrons are blossoming in the Hever Castle gardens providing stunning displays of colour. Fun fact – Rhododendrons are the national flower of Nepal and considered to be edible by the Nepalese who enjoy the flowers for their sour taste!

Rhododendrons - Hever Castle

Tips for Growing Rhododendrons

We asked Hever Castle’s Head Gardener, Neil Miller, for his tips on growing Rhododendrons. These plants are fairly low maintenance when planted correctly.

  • Proper soil preparation is necessary for the health of this acid loving shrub – ensure your soil is between 4.5 and 5.5 on the PH scale.
  • If you have alkaline soil grow Rhododendrons in a pot with ericaceous compost.
  • They are best planted in dappled shade, on the north side of a building away from a windy aspect. They should be planted in spring when danger from frost has passed.
  • When planting Rhododendrons, it is best to plant them in groups in prepared beds rather than individually. Do not plant them too deeply as they are surface rooting and the roots should just be covered.
  • They don’t require much pruning other than the removal of dead wood and dead heading of spent flowers, if practical.
  • Rhododendron flower buds start forming in late summer and a short period of dry conditions at this time may cause flower buds to fail to form – to prevent this mulch and water thoroughly during dry periods from July onwards.

Rhododendrons - Hever Castle

Read more about the Hever Castle gardens.

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