It is little wonder that Rhododendrons continue to be one of the most popular plants in the garden centre.
They are easy to grow so long as you follow a few tips and you will have sensational rhododendron with beautiful blooms.
Select a location in your garden that offers some light shade.
Most Rhododendrons prefer to be planted in soil that is acidic or in pots that are filled with ericaceous compost. However, the INKARHO series of Rhododendrons are lime tolerant and can be planted into almost any type of soil or compost.
Keep well-watered, especially in the autumn when the flower buds begin to swell ready to bloom in the spring.
Feed in spring, summer and autumn with a control released ericaceous plant food. This will assist with flowering but more importantly keep the acid levels in the soil topped up.
Rhododendrons require little pruning but you can remove faded flowers
Plus they are also useful at the back of a border as the green foliage provides the perfect backdrop for showing off taller summer and autumn flowering perennials such as Echinacea and Rudbeckia planted at the front of the border.
April is one of the best months of the year to work in the Garden Centre. Plants for bedding, hanging baskets, fruit, vegetables and herbs arrive daily as well as well as specimen palms, bamboos, climbing plants and shrubs. The abundance of choice just makes you want to transform your outdoor space.
March is a month when everyone whats to start to plant, but one plant not to overlook are beautiful Alpines. If you have a warm sunny site these plants can form a beautiful natural display. They can be nestled into gaps in brickwork, rock forms, pathways as well as being planted into tubs.
The key to growing is drainage. They do not like to sit in water, so it is essential to incorporate grit to your compost if planting in tubs. A mix of 50 per cent grit to 50 per cent John Innes No 2 Compost should be used. Terracotta tubs often make good planters for alpines as the walls of the terracotta pot absorb moisture drawing it away from the plants roots.
Some of our favourites are:
- Iberis that offers white flowers in spring and evergreen dark green foliage.
- Lithodora is a larger alpine, growing to 60cm in width and a height of 15cm. Dark green foliage and strong blue flowers in late spring and summer.
- Cyclamen hederifolium is a perennial Cyclamen that has pink flowers during autumn.
- Alpine Sedum gives year round evergreen foliar colour. There are varieties with grey-green foliage, yellow foliage and maroon-red foliage.
- Aubretia such as Purple Cascade has an abundance of rich purple flowers that trail over the edge of alpine planters or walls.
Stone Cross Garden Centre, Dittons Road, Stone Cross, Pevensey.
This first appeared in the April edition of etc Magazine pick up your copy now.