My lovely, 10 year old, dwarf rhododendron ‘Dopey’ is finished flowering, it is an amazing display when it’s in full swing, but the flowering often coincide with a heat wave every year so it is oh so short. Compared to my rhododendron ‘Christmas Cheer’, which flowers from early February and onwards and often spends more than 2 months before the last flower has opened, Dopey has a short, but spectacular show of just a few weeks.
And now it’s all over and a whole year till next time. All I am left with are lots of ‘fingers’ where the flowers were, after I have meticulously picked off all the dead flowers. Some years I have snipped off the withered flower clusters, some years I haven’t, to me, the result has been the same, ‘Dopey’ has flowered amazingly every year. I have read up about this and some places they say you can carefully cut off these, other places they say leave it to dry until it all falls off by itself. So some years I have just left it. Unsightly as it is. ‘Dopey’ has a rather prominent place in my garden so I would rather like to tidy him up a bit, even though it is a lot of work. On one of the photos you can see I have started to do it, carefully snipping off the clusters, right where next years’ flowers already have started to develop. That’s important when doing this, not to snip too low, or you won’t get any flowers next year.
So now I would be interested to hear what you do with your rhododendrons, all you knowledgeable people - snip or leave it? Have you found any pros and cons with either method?