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Growing Rhododendrons in Containers

Many of the dwarf and small rhododendrons and the evergreen azaleas are ideally suited to container growing. Our Standard Rhododendrons, particularly R. yakushimanum, look great in a container. Some of the tender, often scented varieties can also be grown in containers and kept in a shade house over winter, then brought outside just before flowering. Likewise other rhododendrons can be shifted into the backyard for the summer after they have finished flowering. Make sure they are not shaded too heavily over the summer as this could inhibit flower bud set for the following season as well as encourage the plant to grow leggy and become sparsely foliaged.


Any container is suitable though care must be taken using concrete containers. Lining the container with polythene or painting with two coats of acrylic paint will ensure that the lime in the concrete will not come in contact with the plant roots. The painting or lining of the inside of terracotta pots also helps prevent them drying out so readily. The container must have a drainage hole and it is advisable to put about 75mm of stone or chip in the bottom before adding the potting mix. A container approximately three times the volume of the plant’s existing root ball should be big enough. You can filter a search for the varieties suitable for growing in containers.

Potting Mix

A suitable growing medium must have rapid drainage and high levels of aeration while at the same time have the ability to retain plenty of water. There are many ready made mixes on the market today. Ask at your local garden centre for the most suitable mix. If you make up your own ensure you include enough organic material and sand or pumice to stop the soil compacting.


After two years most plants will need repotting either into a bigger container or lifted out of the existing container, the roots trimmed and fresh soil and fertiliser added.


Prune any straggly branches while repotting.


The use of a balanced fertiliser is essential. We recommend the use of Cross Hills Long-Life Fertiliser for fertilising plants in containers, hanging baskets etc. One application in the spring will be sufficient for one growing  season.   Please scroll through our garden products and add Long-Life Fertiliser to your shopping cart.


As with all plants in containers regular watering is essential. Remember a potting soil that is allowed to dry out is hard to re-wet. Soaking from the base is an ideal way to water. Another idea is to run small trickle type tubes to individual plants, controlled by a timer. The use of Pot and Soil Wetter will assist the absorption of water into the potting mix.  Please scroll through our garden products and add Pot and Soil Wetter to your shopping cart.



Opening times

365 Days

Nursery & Plant Centre

7 Days a week from Sunday 9th June 2024

Monday- Friday -10.30am - 5pm 

Saturdays 1pm - 5pm 

Sundays 10.30am - 5pm 

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Catering is available for pre-booked groups only, subject to availability, please contact our office to discuss.

Where to find us

339 Rangiwahia Road
RD 54
Kimbolton 4774
New Zealand

Contact us

P. 06 328 5797
E. office@crosshills.co.nz

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