We grow rhododendrons: the nuances of planting and care, all about reproduction

  • Look: heather
  • Flowering Period: April, May, June
  • Height: 0.3-1.5m
  • Color: White, Pink, Purple, Red, Yellow, Purple
  • Perennial
  • Winters
  • Shady
  • Loving

It is difficult to imagine a suburban area without the usual permanent residents - peonies, roses, poppies, dahlias, decorating flower beds and flower beds with their lush caps throughout the summer. However, sometimes in the summer cottages of the middle lane and southern regions you can find an unusual beautiful shrub that resembles a rose. This is a rhododendron, a rather capricious thermophilic plant. It is not easy to find an approach to it, but the cultivation and care of rhododendrons over time for some lovers of rare plants grows into a hobby - these magnificent flowers are so beautiful and refined.

Exotic guest at your cottage

Like most luxuriantly flowering crops, rhododendron is rarely found in the Russian wildlife, and grows exclusively under the supervision of gardeners.

Many species take root and feel great only in the southern latitudes, so they can be safely grown in the Crimea, Krasnodar Territory or the Stavropol Territory. However, some varieties, for example, Daursky or Canadian, develop well in temperate climates, so if you live in the suburbs of Moscow, the Urals or even in the Siberian outback, rhododendron can also decorate your summer cottage with its magnificent flowering.

Literally translated from Latin, “rhododendron” means “rosewood” - and indeed, the plant looks very much like a rose in its appearance, although it refers not to rosacea but to heather

Of course, you are familiar with one of the types of rhododendron - this is the well-known home azalea, often decorating the windowsills of city apartments. It is distinguished by lush flowering and a variety of shades.

It is impossible to imagine how the relatives of this small plant can reach 25-30 meters in height, although in fact in the Himalayas, Japan, North America, some species grow to such gigantic sizes.

There are also low rhododendrons, which are separate bushes or creeping shrubs that feel comfortable at the foot of the mountains and in coastal sea zones.

Mountain varieties are small and ideal for organizing alpine slides. For example, the Kamchatka rhododendron is unpretentious, grows only up to 35-40 cm in height and has a bright pink tint

Among annuals and perennials (and about 3 thousand in total), you can choose a variety whose characteristics are suitable for cultivation in a particular region.

If you need a special shade - reddish, purple, white or yellow - this will also not be a problem, since the color palette of crops is almost limitless. Flowering culture begins in early spring and continues throughout the entire warm period.

Thanks to the luxurious color palette, garden azaleas can be combined with various types of flowering crops and used for growing in columbaria, rock gardens, multi-level flower beds

Rhododendron planting: time, soil, lighting

Following general recommendations, planting can be done both in autumn and spring, that is, in the growing season convenient for you, excluding flowering time and a short period after flowering - about 10 days. However, experienced gardeners still insist on a spring planting, which continues, depending on the region, from April to May 10-15.

Varieties planted earlier than this period are already covered with a thick color for the May holidays - against the background of barely hacked foliage and fresh grassy greens, they look very impressive.

One of the early flowering rhododendrons is PJ Mezitt, a lush plant with pink and purple buds. Its flowering begins in the last decade of April - the first of May

It is important to choose the right place of planting, as in a bright sunshine the plant will feel uncomfortable, and in a completely darkened place it will not give lush flowering.

It is best to break the flowerbed with rhododendrons on the north side of the building, on a semi-shaded area, so that at noon, when the sun's rays reach their maximum strength, the plant was completely closed from them.

Not only the walls of the building, but also the fence or tall trees can serve as a shadow barrier for the flower garden. Rhododendron coexists perfectly with trees whose roots go deep into the soil and do not interfere with the development of the plant - with oaks, larch, spruce, and fruit - with pears or apple trees

Flowers absolutely cannot tolerate alkaline or neutral soil - it must be acidic, rich in humus, well aerated, without lime impurities. One of the best materials for growing is a mixture of peat and clay.

Rhododendron is planted in the following order:

  • dig holes, shallow (35-40 cm) and wide enough (55-60 cm);
  • the lower part is drained by a sand-pebble layer (10-15 cm);
  • they are covered with a mixture of loam and peat (high or sphagnum, with low acidity), while peat should be about 2 times more;
  • lightly compact the soil inside the pit and make a hole in it the size of an earthen ball of seedling;
  • lower the roots of the seedling into the hole and fill it with the soil mixture along the very root neck, which as a result should be at the same level with the soil surface;
  • water the plant abundantly if the soil is dry;
  • produce mulching (to a depth of 5-7 cm), for which peat, moss, rotted needles, leaves and crushed oak bark are suitable.

To make the plant better take root in a new place, before planting, thoroughly soak the roots with water - dip the seedlings in a container of water until air bubbles no longer appear on the surface.

Approximate planting scheme of rhododendron: 1 - garden soil; 2 - drainage; 3 - soil mixture of peat, clay or loam; 4 - a layer of pine needles

There is another trick that contributes to a better development of the root system. In a flowering plant, cut off the most lush buds - thus the seedling will spend more energy on rooting. Planting and further care for rhododendrons are important stages, following which you will achieve amazing results.

Making planted bush is better to do in a couple of weeks - after its complete rooting. You can give the plant a certain shape, and decorate the base depending on the style of landscape design of your site

Nuances of flower care

The rules for proper care of the flowering shrub do not differ from generally accepted standards: it is necessary to observe the watering regime, weeding and pruning on time, feeding the plant with suitable minerals and making sure that pests are not wound up.

There are subtleties, for example, a gentle approach when loosening. The roots of the plant are very close to the surface, so the soil must be loosened very carefully, and digging should not be done at all. When removing weeds, in no case use a chopper or garden knife, you can only act manually.

Watering regime and features

The ratio of rhododendron to moisture is very interesting. On the one hand, it does not tolerate waterlogging, on the other hand, it requires constant spraying and irrigation with specially prepared water.

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Even when choosing a landing site, check to see if groundwater is close to the surface. The fact is that with a large amount of moisture in the soil, the roots simply “choke” and the plant dies. That is why a layer of drainage is required to drain excess water.

It is especially important to observe the regime of watering and atmospheric irrigation during the development of buds and flowering - the better the watering, the brighter and more magnificent the inflorescences

Watering is carried out regularly, pre-acidifying the water - for this, 12-20 hours before watering, 2-3 handfuls of sphagnum peat are put in a container with water. It is better not to use tap water, in extreme cases, it must be defended. Ideal - rainfall. The regularity of watering depends on the condition of the plant: as soon as the leaves have lost their glossy shine and changed turgor - it's time to water.

When to prune a plant

The concept of cropping is very conditional. Usually the plant develops evenly and forms an abundantly flowering bush of the correct form, so lovers of lush flower beds do not need to prune. But sometimes you need to thin out the bush, make it a little lower or just rejuvenate.

Pruning is carried out in early spring, until sap flow begins. Choose strong, thick branches with a diameter of 3-4 cm, carefully cut the ends with garden scissors and process the slices with a specially prepared garden varnish or resin. About a month later, the update process will start, continuing throughout the year - new shoots will hatch and sleeping buds will begin to develop.

Pruning of frozen or old bushes requires special skill: thick branches should be cut at a distance of 35-40 cm from the ground alternately for 2 years: part this year, the second - next

Rhododendrons are characterized by uneven flowering. If this year they have pleased you with a particularly violent color, expect more modest results next year. To avoid this, wilted buds should be removed immediately after flowering, and then the plant will have the strength to gain as many buds as possible in the second year.

Pest and disease protection

Branched bushes with dense foliage and many buds are a great place to live for insects, half of which can destroy the beauty you have grown in a couple of weeks, so a number of measures must be taken to protect the bush.

Thick trunks and branches are a favorite place for mollusks. The slugs and snails are harvested by hand. Beware of scale insects, bedbugs, spider mites, rhododendron flies, mealy worms. Treat the stems and branches with 8% fungicide "Tiram", Karbofos helps well.

It is more difficult to remove bugs, ticks, and especially weevils, to get rid of which diazonin is used. Remember, to say goodbye to a harmful guest forever, you need to process not only the plant itself, but also the top layer of soil around it

Along with insect pests, rhododendrons are threatened by fungal diseases - rust, chlorosis, spotting. The reason lies in the lack of aeration and non-compliance with the irrigation regime. Yellowness resulting from a disease of chlorosis is treated with a solution of iron chelate. If rot has appeared, the affected shoots should be cut off completely. For prevention, seasonal treatment with Bordeaux fluid is carried out in late autumn or early April.

Fertilizing and fertilizer selection

It is necessary to start feeding rhododendrons from planting and throughout the flowering period. To preserve the acidic environment important for the culture, superphosphate, potassium sulfate, potassium nitrate, magnesium sulfate or calcium, ammonium are used, but in a minimum concentration.

Early spring dressing is made up of fertilizers containing nitrogen (40-50 g of magnesium sulfate or ammonium per 1 cubic meter of liquid), it is also relevant in the period after flowering. In July, the dose of fertilizers should be reduced to 20 g.

Ideal top dressing for rhododendrons is a liquid solution of natural fertilizers such as horn flour or cow dung. Rotted manure is diluted with water (1 part of fertilizer to 15 parts of water), insisted 3-4 days and used during irrigation

1-2 years after planting, it is necessary to renew the topsoil. To do this, peat is mixed in equal proportions with humus or compost and sprinkled on the area around the roots. Along with natural ingredients, superphosphate, potassium sulfate or ammonium are added to the bedding (solids - 1 tablespoon each). As a dry powder, you can use "Agricola" for flowering garden plants. Remember that only thoroughly watered shrubs need to be fertilized.

Reproduction methods - which one to choose

Consider the three most successful methods of propagation of rhododendron in garden conditions:

  • by seeds;
  • cuttings;
  • layering.

Growing plants from seeds is a long and laborious task. Dry, healthy seeds are sown in pots or boxes with wet peat, add some sand, cover with glass caps and put in a well-lit place. Within a month, it is necessary to moisten the soil and remove condensation from the glass.

Seedlings that appeared after 4 weeks are planted in a greenhouse with a cool climate according to the 2 x 3 cm pattern. Seedlings will grow for a very long time, and only after 6-7 years will you see the first flowering

Propagation by cuttings is also not far from all gardeners. It is necessary to take shoots that are half-woody, and cut several cuttings from them about 7-8 cm long.

The leaves are removed from the bottom, and the treated end is placed in a container with heteroauxin - a growth stimulator, where it is held for 12-15 hours

Then placed in peat soil and covered, as in the case of seeds. Depending on the variety, cuttings take root in 2-4 months, after which they are transplanted into boxes with peat-coniferous soil and taken out to a cool greenhouse. The optimum temperature is 10ºС. Planted in the spring with other flowers, right in the boxes, and only after a couple of years they can be transplanted to the main place of growth.

The most convenient option for reproduction is pinning layering. A flexible lower shoot is taken, a groove 12-15 cm deep is pulled out near it, and a process is laid in this groove.

So that he does not rise, the middle part of the stem is pinned, and sprinkled with peat on top. The upper part must be brought out and tied to a support - a wooden peg stuck in the ground

The layering is looked after in the same way as the whole bush - it is watered and sprayed. When it takes root (in late autumn or spring), it is carefully separated, dug up and transplanted to a place of constant growth. This method is especially good for propagating deciduous rhododendrons.

The most popular country grades

In the coniferous garden 2-3-meter Daursky rhododendron coexists perfectly. It is characterized by abundant flowering buds reaching a diameter of 4 cm.

If the warm season drags on, then the Daursky variety will surely please you with repeated autumn flowering, and next spring a winter-hardy plant will bloom in normal mode

Adams Rhododendron is an oriental guest accustomed to rocky mountain soils.

A beautiful plant with pale pink flowers grows up to one and a half meters in height. In our country it is found infrequently, and in Buryatia it is listed in the Red Book

The low creeping Caucasian rhododendron is a real find for rock gardens.

Inflorescences of the Caucasian rhododendron are distinguished by an unusual pale yellow or cream shade, which will remarkably dilute the more saturated, rich colors of other varieties

Japanese rhododendron is a magnificent deciduous variety with flamingo buds.

Japanese rhododendrons with amazing flowers and picturesque foliage reddening in the autumn are unpretentious, winter-hardy and breed well in any way - a great option for growing in central Russia

And finally - a short video on how to achieve the magnificent flowering of rhododendrons.

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