How to Make a Rhododendron Bloom

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Rhododendron is a genus that has more than 1,000 species of shrubs and trees. Popular rhododendrons include azaleas, blueberries, mountain laurels and heathers. These types of plants generally have shallow root systems that thrive in well-drained soil. Deadheading these flowers is one of the most important steps for ensuring blooming, because it allows the plant to focus its energy on the next blooming season. Find out how you can ensure a garden full of rhododendron blooms for your next growing season.

Things You'll Need

  • Cooking spray or mineral oil
  • Gloves
  • Bypass shears
  • Denatured alcohol
  • Prune plants right after blooming. Use a pair of bypass shears or sharp pruners to trim off any damaged or diseased branches. Look for powdery mildew, leaf spotting, rust or discolored leaves.

  • Dip your shears in a mixture of 10 percent denatured alcohol and water when you trim off diseased branches. Clean them each time you cut to avoid spreading disease.

  • Spray a pair of gloves with no-stick cooking spray. Many types of rhododendron are sticky, which makes removing dead flowers difficult. In addition, most rhododendrons have poisonous leaves that should not be touched.

  • Snap off any dead flowers. Be careful not to damage the flower stalk or pull on the plant. Avoid throwing the dead blooms on the ground, as that invites mold to grow underneath the plant.

  • Throw the dead blooms in the compost pile to use as mulch for other flowers. Use this mulch only for flowers that live in acidic soil. Test your soil first with a home soil pH testing kit to determine the pH range in your yard.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use mineral oil if cooking spray is not available for applying on gloves.
  • Deadhead rhododendrons in the afternoon to prevent waterborne mold from entering stems.

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