At out March meeting Dave Hinton gave an interesting and informative talk about the development of his rhododendron garden in Orono and his experiences as a hybridizer. Dave is a wealth of knowledge and here are:
Ten things you should know.
1) Be cautious with fertilizer and acidifier; it is easy to kill a rhodo with kindness.
2) Rhodos and azaleas require only mildly acid soil.
3) To easily test your soil, plant a blue-flowering hydrangea such as ‘Endless Summer’. If the flowers are pink your soil isn’t acid enough; blue is perfect.
4) Rhodos are drought tolerant. They may be wilted by the end of the day but if they are still wilted the next morning,
5) Azaleas are not drought tolerant. If they wilt, it is too late.
6) Azaleas are best in full sun.
7) Rhodos need dappled shade. The shade from evergreens will be too much when they are mature and the rhodos will eventually die out.
8) Rhodos and azaleas do not make good bedfellows. Azaleas will always lose out as the rhodos grow.
9) Magnolia trees are good companions to rhodos.
10) Do not give up too quickly on a rhodo or azalea that looks dead in the spring. They will sometimes leaf out later in the summer.