Plant of the month: Rhododendron

25th April 2024

Home » Plant of the month: Rhododendron

Our plant of the month this May is an acid loving, woodland dweller. Few shrubs are as widely anticipated each season as the Rhododendron.

From the Ancient Greek “Rose Tree”, there are over 11,024 species of Rhododendron. The sweet, nectar type smelling flowers evokes images of tropical islands and tiny Hummingbirds! We stock many varieties so the flowering period can be quite long, however, most flower in April to early June, peaking in May.

How to grow Rhododendrons

Commonly classed as either rhododendrons or azaleas, these popular woodland shrubs put on spectacular flowering displays from spring to early summer. Rhododendrons are usually medium or large evergreen shrubs, while azaleas tend to be smaller and may be evergreen or deciduous. Most rhododendrons and require acid soils and light, dappled shade. The best time to plant is autumn or spring.

Rhododendrons don’t require much pruning other than the removal of dead wood and deadheading of flowers that have gone over.


  • Rhododendrons prefer it wet. Even on acidic soils they are harder to grow in dry areas or areas with low rainfall.
  • Where possible use rainwater for watering rhododendrons. Tap water (especially in hard water areas contains too much calcium and neutralises soil acidity).

Rhododendron varieties currently in stock:

Lime tolerant varieties due to their rootstock (Inkarho):

Inkarho rootstock Rhododendron were created in Germany over twenty years ago and have revolutionised Rhododendron sales as this variety will grow in neutral soil. They have been featured in several recent RHS Chelsea gardens and are gaining in popularity. They also make a great alternative to Box hedging which can suffer greatly from Box caterpillar blight.

Mixed display of Rhododendrons here at The Big Plant Nursery

Where to see Rhododendrons