Dig the planting hole twice as wide and to the same depth as the root-ball. Remove the shrub from the container, gently tease the roots.
Position in hole and backfill with soil, gently firming down. Form a raised or doughnut shaped ring of soil around the outer edge of the plant's root zone. This helps keep water where it's needed. Always water in well after planting to settle the soil around the roots and keep the soil lightly moist for several weeks while the new plant establishes.
Mulch around the base with organic mulch like bark chips, sugarcane or pea straw, keeping it away from the trunk.
Choose a dwarf variety and pot that has adequate drainage holes and is double the size of the selected plant. Place it in a position that gets dappled sunlight during the day and protection from the afternoon sun.
Get your plants ready for the summer months by giving them a feed and a trim after flowering and apply Yates Waterwise Soil Wetter over the root area.
Rhododendrons grow quite slowly and don’t require too much fertiliser. Using a slow release fertiliser such as Yates Dynamic Lifter Plus Flower Food will give them just the right amount of nutrients that they need to grow.
Rhododendrons are not recommended for planting in kids gardens as the plant is poisonous if consumed.
There is also one Australian native species, the red-flowered Rhododendron lochiae.
Vireya rhododendrons differentiate themselves from the Himalayan varieties by their glossy leaves, long flowering period and unusual colours. Many of the vireya flowers come in shades of orange and salmon as well as the more traditional rhododendron pink and white.
Vireyas don’t produce the massed show that’s so typical of the cold climate rhodos but, unlike their spring-blooming cousins, they continue flowering over many months.
‘Sir Robert Peel’ (deep pink) and ‘Broughtonii’ (crimson) are two cultivars that grow in reasonably warm areas.