GROWING RHODODENDRONS IN WARMER CLIMATES
Rhododendrons thrive in conditions that have cooler day and night time temperatures. Therefore, when growing in ‘warmer’ climates, i.e. those with a lower altitude and warmer winters (top half North Island and some coastal areas), you’ll have happier plants if you follow these pointers.
* Avoid areas exposed to prevailing winds or drying coastal winds.
* Check basic soil pH – should be 4.5 – 6.
* Avoid planting into heavy clay soils – adjust as necessary – acid and friable is ideal (see our Cultural Hints re Gypsum.)
* In clay type soils we recommend adding Trichopel at planting time. Please scroll through our garden products and add Trichopel to your shopping cart.
* Keep well watered in sandy or free draining soils.
* Mulching with bark chips, chopped up garden prunings or rotted leaf mould helps retain moisture in sandy soils and at the same time keeps the root structure cool.
* Mist irrigate the foliage in the evening during extremely hot periods – (This is in addition to normal watering practices)
* Plant lightly foliaged, deciduous trees for shade.
* Be prepared to spray for pests e.g. Thrips – see information on our Tree Health Bands for the treatment of Thrips
We are gradually building up a knowledge as to which varieties do better in the above conditions. You can filter a search for the varieties that we consider will tolerate warmer climates the best. These same varieties will grow in cooler climates as well, with the exception of those varieties we have pointed out that need protection from frosts. If in doubt, discuss your selection with us.