arhs Yachts International
arhs Yachts International

Site Selection

Site selection is the most important decision. Determine where you want a plant and what suits the plant. If the site doesn’t suit the plant, another kind of plant may be the answer.

This is the number one consideration. If water sits in the area at any time of the year, it is likely no place for a rhododendron. Dig a hole and fill it with water. If the water does not drain quickly find another site.

Most rhododendrons need at least half a day of sun or very bright light to bloom properly and to grow as a shapely plant. With little sunlight, the looser the habit will be and the fewer the blooms you will have. The larger the leaf, the less sun is required. The small leaf varieties need much more.

Shelter is required. Few rhododendrons tolerate a windy, exposed situation. Avoid windy corners near the house as you may have to erect barriers of boughs or lath in the winter time.

Avoid hot spots; especially heat traps close to foundation walls on the south and west sides. Red, yellow and the small leafed varieties are especially intolerant of this. Also avoid roof overhangs which keep vital moisture off the plant. Rhododendrons enjoy fog and mists and will not grow properly in sites that are too dry.

Rhododendrons and azaleas need acid soil to grow well. pH should not be a great concern here in the Maritimes; too much time is wasted on such concerns. The only sites possibly not acid are near new foundations where construction workers have dumped cement or in very heavily limed lawns (R. schlippenbachii tolerates and even requires a bit of lime.) The soil will require some amending as these plants require a light, moisture retentive (not wet), and well-drained soil with plenty of organic material added.