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How deep to plant Rhododendron 'Hino-crimson'?

The RHS web site says of evergreen azalea rhododendron 'Hino-crimson' that "Shallow planting is essential, deep planting will not be tolerated." Does anyone know what this means?

(I can't ask RHS as it only deals with questions from members).

Comments (4)

  1. Grower

    WrightRhodos

    Rhododendrons are naturally shallow rooted plants. Try digging one up and you might be surprised how easy they are to uproot.

    So, if you follow the general gardening advice of 'dig a hole twice as wide and twice as deep as the rootball and back fill with a mix of soil, peat and other additives', you will likely kill the plant.

    The reason is excess water. Rhododendrons have fibrous shallow roots that require good drainage to thrive. With water around the roots, the plant is deprived of oxygen and is much more likely to develop fungal diseases. Rhododendrons grow best in shallow beds high in organic matter, which is their natural habitat in places like the Himalayas and China. They are particularly not suited to heavy clay soils, or poorly drained pots, that trap water around the roots.

    Hope that's a help.

  2. Grower

    Rachel the Gardener

    Richard, if you have just bought a rhodo in a pot, then dig a hole the same depth as the soil in the pot, and ensure that the surface of the pot soil is still just barely visible once you have planted it. Don't heap any extra soil on top of the "original" surface, and all should be well.

    If you have a bare-root plant, then look carefully at the stem, and work out where the original soil level was. Usually it's quite easy to see the "join" between stem and roots, they are generally a different colour. Then, when you plant it, make sure that that mark is still at ground level, not buried.

    Hope this helps!

  3. Grower

    Richard Holland

    Many thanks for all your thoughts. I was planning on growing the azalea in a pot - does this mean that the pot can be fairly shallow?

  4. Grower

    WrightRhodos

    Yes, so long as there's good drainage, the roots are near the surface and there is room to expand laterally. Because the roots are shallow, the rootball is somewhat wider than with other plants and becoming constrained by the width of the pot will cause the problems described above.


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