- Dig a hole that is about twice as deep and three times as wide as the size of the rootstock.
- Mix the excavated soil with moist peat or special rhododendron potting soil in a ratio of 1:1.
- Fill up the hole with half of this mixture and set the rhododendron in it.
- If you are planting rhododendrons in containers, gently scratch the surface of the rootstook all round with a handrake. If the rootstock has come equipped with a covering, untie this and fold it down all round.
- Finally, fill the hole all round with soil and press it down gently with your foot.
If the soil is heavy, do not press it down as this will make it too hard! The shrub should be placed in the ground at such a depth that the rootstock is barely covered with soil. Rhododendrons that are planted deep will not grow well and their leaves will turn yellow.
- Make a watering trench around plant by heaping up an earth about 10cm (4 in) high all around it,at least 45cm (18in) away from the trunk. This will prevent water running away too fast and help to direct it towards the roots.
- Give the plants plenty of water to begin with.
- Larger shrubs (over 1.5 m or 60 in) need a strong wooden support stick to prevent them from being uprooted by strong winds. Drive the stake diagonally past the rootstock into the ground and then tie the rhododendron to it with hemp, not nylon, rope.
A whole bed of rhododendrons
If you are intending to plant a whole bed with rhododendrons, the best method of getting an idea as to how the final picture will look is first to stand all the plants in their approximate positions. In this way you can still shift the shrubs around until you think you have got it right. Mark the chosen spots before starting to plant.
General rule for spacing the plants: The right distance between the plants twice the height of one shrub. Example: 50cm (20 in) high plants should be planted at a distance of 1m (40 in) (measured from one stem to the other), 1.5m (59 in) high shrubs at a distance of 3m (118in) and so on.
NB. If the rhododendrons do grow large they can easily be transplanted.