It’s the end of July and most people are still in summer mode. Camping, picnics, trips to the beach, are all on peoples minds. So what am I going to talk about? Rhododendron bloom time.
Because these spring flowering shrubs can be picked up on sale now. The reason they are on sale is that they bloom in the spring. Who is bothering to think about spring in the middle of summer?
Those gardeners who are always planting for a future season.
Some people see a nice plant flowering. They buy it immediately. Those are the same people that see a cat at a pet store up for adoption and end up bringing it home with a litter box to their pissed off husband.
Other people never buy a plant in bloom. They buy the plant that will bloom later. They get to anticipate the show. After all, anticipation is half the fun of the good things in life (hint, hint, wink, wink).
Plant these for a long rhododendron bloom time
By selecting the right rhododendron bloom time can be maximized. The four plants below will create a nice succession of bloom through spring. Right when one stops, they next one will start blooming.
They also don’t get too big. So you don’t have to redesign your landscape completely to fit them in. I will show them in the order that they bloom in the spring.
PJM Rhododendron (Rhododendron ‘PJM’)
Rhododendron bloom time begins with PJM. These evergreens tolerate neutral soil better than most rhododendrons. They are one of the most commonly seen. For most of us, there are the easiest “rhodies” to grow.
They have a lavender colored flower that some people hate with a vengeance. I like them, but DON’T plant them next to a yellowish color plant or you they will clash horribly when they bloom.
I say they are evergreen, but in fall and winter they turn purple mahogany color. This color is a nice contrast when next to other evergreens such as yew or boxwood. They also look nice with an evergreen ground cover under them. When it is really cold, their leaves curl up and they don’t look like much.
Aglo Rhododendron (Rhododendron ‘Aglo’)
These are a PJM type rhododendron that has a pinker flower color and blooms right after the PJM’s. This plant is a little harder to grow than PJM’s. They need a rich acidic soil and more watering in the summer heat than PJM.
If I was to skip one of these four plants to get, it would be this one. That being said, its blooms are very nice. They get about 3’ high by 3’ wide if not pruned.
Karen Azalea (Rhododendron ‘Karens’)
This one is a little different. It is lower growing and more of a mound shape than the PJM’s. These are great to plant in groups. They lose all their leaves but an outer layer in the winter. Their smaller leaves don’t add a lot of winter interest.
When they are completely covered in blooms, they are show stoppers. They also can also get a very nice reddish fall color. Don’t plant just one of these, buy enough to make groups or scatter them around your landscape.
Rhododendron bloom time ends with the Rosy Lights Azalea (Rhododendron ‘Rosy Lights’)
This one is different in that it drops all its leaves in the fall. It does not really add anything to the winter landscape. It can however have a nice golden yellow fall color that can contrast with evergreens and reddish and purple fall colored plants.
What you plant this one for is its blooms. Rhododendron bloom time ends with these rosy pink colored blooms. This one is an accent plant that will be blooming in late spring when few other things are. Buy a few of them and scatter them throughout your landscape where they will go unnoticed until they light it up with blooms. It gets about 5’ tall and 6’ wide if not pruned.
All rhododendrons appreciate an acidic well drained organic soil. These are some of the more tolerant rhodies; however you may wish to see my post on amending your soil if your soil is not acidic. If your rhododendrons are getting a little big you may wish to see my post on pruning them.
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