How to care for a potted rhododendron?

Rhododendron can be kept in a pot

Is it possible to always have a potted rhododendron? Yes of course! It is a plant that tolerates pruning very well, so if we want to grow it in a pot we can do it without problems. But it is important to give him the care he needs to be well, otherwise we risk losing him.

So If you have just bought a rhododendron or are planning to do so, take note of our tips to make your plant look beautiful always, and not just newly acquired.

Outside or inside? And where to put it?

The first thing to ask yourself is whether the rhododendron is a plant to have outside or inside the house, since its well-being will largely depend on it. It should therefore be noted that the most cultivated species, such as Rhododendron ferrugineum or the Pontic rhododendron they grow mainly in mountainous regions: the first in Asia, and the second in Turkey and Spain. So, we are talking about plants capable of withstanding the cold well, which do not fear frostthis is why they must be kept outside all year round.

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Rhododendron, beautiful, rustic and very resistant

But where exactly? In a sunny or shady spot? Well, it will depend on the climate of the region: if it is Mediterranean, it is preferable that they are in the shade because the sun is very intense during the summer, and could burn them; but if it is temperate-cool, they can be in partial shade.

What soil does the potted rhododendron need?

It is an acid plant. This means that only grows in acidic soils, with a pH between 4 and 6. But it is also important that it is a light soil, which does not easily become waterlogged. If it’s going to be in a pot, it’s easy to supply: just buy a growing medium for acidic plants, such as the Flower or Naturplant brands. To get them, click on the links.

Another option would be to put coconut fiber (on sale here), which is also acidic, and of which we leave you a video:

What pot do you need?

The rhododendron is a slow-growing shrub, which is why It should be planted in pots about 5 to 7 centimeters in diameter and higher than the one it currently has.. In other words, it wouldn’t be a good idea to put it in a 30 centimeter, for example, if the one it currently has is 10 centimeters in diameter, because it would have more soil than it takes needs, which, when irrigated, absorb more water than the roots can absorb, and therefore there would be a risk that the plant would die due to excess water.

But besides the size, you should also choose one that has drainage holes in its base, because otherwise the rhododendron would not survive. Indeed, due to the accumulation of water in its roots, it would not be appropriate to have it in a pot with a saucer below (unless it always empties after watering), nor in a bigger one without holes.

When should the pot be changed?

Transplanting into a larger pot It will be done in spring, or in autumn if you wish to wait for the end of flowering. Likewise, it must be done when the plant has been in the same container for more than three years, and/or if the roots come out of the holes in it. I also advise changing it if we find that it lacks land, since it will make it grow better, with more health.

How often are potted rhododendrons watered?

Rhododendron can be potted

As it is a plant that does not like excess water in its roots but is also not resistant to drought, it is important that it is watered regularly throughout the year. During the summer, it will be done more frequently than during the rest of the year, because the earth takes less time to dry.. Therefore, we must know the climate of the region, because if it rains often in spring, for example, in this season we will have to water little. But how many times exactly?

Well, it also depends on the weather and how long it takes for the earth to dry out. In very hot and dry places, such as the Mediterranean where temperatures in summer exceed 30 ° C, it is watered about 3 times a week during this season.. But if you live in an area where it rains frequently and/or where temperatures are mild, you will need to water less.

If you have any doubts, it is advisable to check the soil moisture with a stick: it is introduced into the ground to the bottom, then carefully extracted. In case it comes out with a lot of soil, it will not be watered because it will still be wet. Another option is to pick up the pot as soon as you’ve watered it, and again after a few days: freshly watered soil weighs more than dry soil, so this difference in weight will help you know when to water.

And by the way, use rainwater or water fit for human consumption. If you have a lot of limescale, it will cause you problems because you will not be able to absorb the iron. As a result, he would end up with iron chlorosis, which is avoided if irrigated with adequate water, like the ones I mentioned.

Do you have to pay?

Yes, it is very interesting to fertilize the potted rhododendron from spring to late summer. For this, specific liquid fertilizers for acid plants will be used, such as the Flower or Battle brand, although if it is specific, any brand will do. The instructions for use will always be followed so that problems do not arise; so that the plant can grow and flourish.

When is it pruned?

Rhododendron is a shrub that can be grown in pots

If we take into account that the plant grows slowly, it will not always be necessary to prune it. In fact, we will only do it if we want to have it low rise, or with a wide and/or rounded cup. To do this, we will use anvil pruners like these that are sold here previously disinfected, and we will cut the branches that are necessary. This we will do it in the fallonce the flowers have faded.

Similarly, you can take advantage of it to eliminate dry and/or broken branches. In this way, our rhododendron will look more beautiful.

I hope these tips will help you care for your potted rhododendron.

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