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Use in the Landscape

Rhododendrons can be planted in the yard as specimen plants.  However, it is usually better to consider the rhododendron as a part of the landscape and plant it in a border or foundation planting with other shrubs.   Rhododendrons should be grouped to achieve certain effects, considering size, color, season of bloom and other factors.  Usually the taller growing plants should be towards the back of the planting, medium sized ones in front, and low growing rhododendrons or other plants around the edges.

Evergreen azaleas look nice grouped together in masses with varieties that bloom at the same time and colors that blend with each other.  Somewhat the same is true for deciduous azaleas and rhododendrons in order to avoid a too "spotty" picture.

In laying out a planting, thought must be given to the size of the plants.  There is a great difference in the ultimate size of rhododendron and azalea varieties and if they are not planted with this in mind the rapid growing ones will soon shade out the slower growing ones.  Estimates as to mature size may be obtained from various catalogs or from the plant database.  A too aggressive variety may take more than its allotted space which may mean moving out the ones being crowded.  Fortunately, rhododendrons are relatively easy to move because the root system is quite fibrous, compact and shallow (see transplanting).

garden scene






Landscape at Ned Brockenbrough's garden
Bellevue, Washington

Photo by Bill Heller
Copyright 1996, ARS

  Index of Topics:
  Botanical classifications  |  Use in landscape  |  Plant selection  |  Climate  |
  Protection  |  Soil  |  Planting  |  Subsequent care  |  Fertilizing  |  Pruning  |
  Insect & disease control  |  Propagation  |  Transplanting  |

American Rhododendron Society
Executive Director: P.O. Box 525,  Niagara Falls, NY 14304
Ph: 416-424-1942   Fax: 905-262-1999   E-Mail:
1998-2014, ARS, All rights reserved.