How to Care for Purple Gem Rhododendrons


Put a purple gem rhododendron anywhere in your landscape where an informal touch is desired. These compact evergreens bloom every spring with abundant bunches of brilliant purple flowers. While some additional care is needed for this cultivar of rhododendron, you will easily see the similarities in the basic process common to all rhododendron varieties. A few minutes a week devoted to the care of these plants will provide gorgeous results.

Things You'll Need

  • Sulfur or iron sulfate
  • Acid based fertilizer
  • Mulch
  • Pruning shears
  • Blanket
  • Take a sample of your garden soil to your local county extension and have them perform a soil test.

  • Prepare the soil before planting. Purple gem rhododendrons prefer a well-drained acidic soil that's rich in organic matter. Add sulfur or iron sulfate to the soil in the amounts recommended by the soil test. Choose a site that will not subject the rhododendrons to harsh afternoon sun or winter winds. Rhododendrons have shallow root systems, so clear other vegetation from the planting site.

  • Water your rhododendrons regularly; twice per week seems ideal for young plants in most locations. Give enough water to moisten the soil to a depth of at least 4 to 6 inches. Reduce watering to once a week as plants mature. Stop watering your purple gem rhododendrons in September to harden them for the winter months.

  • Feed the plants in April or May with a fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants, preferably a 6-10-4 formula. Apply approximately 1 oz. for every 3 square feet of garden soil. Do not fertilize the purple gem rhododendrons after July 1. New growth later in the season will not survive the winter.

  • Mulch around the base of your rhododendrons to a depth of 2 to 3 inches. As old mulch decays, add more on top to maintain a consistent thickness. Increase mulch in the autumn to keep roots warm heading into winter.

  • Prune rhododendrons annually in early spring before flowering starts. On purple gem rhododendrons, a shoot will have four rosettes of leaves. Prune back to within 1/4 inch of whichever rosette suits your plans for the size and future of the plant.

  • Keep your purple gem rhododendrons warm. Unlike other varieties of rhododendron that can tolerate sub-zero temperatures, purple gem rhododendrons will die if exposed to temperatures below 15 degrees Fahrenheit. If freezing temperatures are expected, water the bush thoroughly before covering it with a blanket. Ongoing cold temperatures may require a heat source.

Related Searches


  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/ Images
Promoted By Zergnet


You May Also Like

  • What are Garnets Used for?

  • How to Care for a Rhododendron

    Rhododendrons are flowering evergreen shrubs that are a member of the Ericaceae family, which also includes popular plants such as heathers, cranberries...

  • How To Prune a Purple-Leaf Sand Cherry

    The purple-leaf sand cherry is a deciduous shrub that blooms with delightful small pink flowers each spring. Even after the flowers go...

  • Fastest-Growing Rhododendrons

    The American Rhododendron Society measures the growth rates of numerous species and hybrids. Speed of growth is determined by calculating how tall...

  • Dwarf Varieties of Rhododendrons

    Rhododendrons are a popular landscaping shrub with bright, showy flowers. There are many varieties of rhododendron, as the genus includes hundreds of...

  • Rhododendron PJM Varieties

    PJM stands for Peter J. Mezitt, who, along with his father, developed the rhododendron hybrids that carry those initials. Since 1945, PJM...

Related Searches

Check It Out

How to Make a Vertical Clay Pot Garden

Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!