The backyard is an excellent place to start your gardening hobby. Especially if you have a lot of land with rich soil.
Aside from elevating the appearance of your home, the garden can also attract those beautiful hummingbirds and butterflies to your door.
Furthermore, gardening is known as an amazing stress-reliever. If you have not decided on how to spend the weekend, this particular activity is one of the best things you can try.
One of the most common decorative flowers for gardening is rhododendron flower. This plant is the largest genus of Ericaceae family that has no fewer than 1024 species. Its taxonomy is very complex, and hard to understand, even amongst the experts.
A. Rhododendron Flower Meaning
Rhododendron has many color options. Each of its colors is widely associated with positive things such as beauty, love, passion, and eagerness.
However, because of its poisonous leaves, many florists believe that the rhododendron flower meaning is related to caution and danger.
Nonetheless, the flower is high regards as one of the most popular decorative plants in the US. According to Ohio State University, this flower is the second most sought-after flower right behind the rose.
Moreover, West Virginia and Washington are using this flower as the symbol of their states. The flower is used to symbolize greatness and immense strength.
B. Rhododendron Flower Types
As mentioned above, rhododendrons are part of the largest ornamental plants genus in the world. Therefore, there are many types of rhododendron flowers that you can find at the seed shop.
Nonetheless, out of many types of rhododendron, there are some types of rhododendron flower that we recommend for the novice gardener, namely:
1. Blue Peter Rhododendron
This type of rhododendron is very popular as a decorative plant in the early 50’. Its lightly-scented violet flowers can impress anyone who takes a look at your backyard. The flower has a white trumpet shape with a little touch of burgundy shade.
2. Bow Bells Rhododendron
Bow bells rhododendron is famous for its rounded foliage that has a distinctive green color. The flower also has a natural pink-colored flower that can bring romantic sensation into your garden. Moreover, this flower is known to grow better with a mixture of soil and organic compost.
3. Elvira Rhododendron
This type of rhododendron is quite unique because it will grow better under the shade. The plants are loving cool temperatures and windy places. The flower has a distinctive bright red color to symbolize passion, strength, and love.
4. Azalea Rhododendron
Azalea flower will bloom the beautiful light red and pink-colored flowers. It will blossom like crazy in the early spring. This plant can be planted both in an open area or under shade. In fact, some of its varieties prefer to grow under big trees.
C. Easy Steps to Grow Rhododendron in Your Backyard
Growing rhododendron flower is not difficult as long as you know the right steps. Here are some easy steps on how to grow rhododendron in your backyard:
1. Preparing Rhododendron Seeds
The preparation stages should not be taken lightly because it will affect the planting process. First, you should plant a rhododendron in the early Fall or Spring. This method will allow the plant to adapt quickly.
Some rhododendron lives better under the shade while some others prefer a lot of direct sunlight. Therefore, find a spot with adequate shade and sunlight just to be safe. Make sure that the soil drains quickly.
Furthermore, if you live in a windy area, it would be best to plant the seeds in a low ground since strong wind can cause serious damage to your beautiful rhododendron flower.
2. Planting The Seeds
Before planting, make sure that you have water the seeds and loosen up their roots. Try using your hand to pull the root out. Do not worry, as long as you do it steadily the root will not come off.
Always give your rhododendron seeds space to grow. We recommend you to give at least 0,5 meter of space between each seed. Plant each seed with care, double check if the holes to place the seeds are not too deep.
3. Taking Care of the Plants
During the first year, you have to water the plants every day. Young rhododendron flower needs a steady amount of water to keep growing. When the plants have grown for a year, you can decrease the watering intensity to once or twice per week.
You should fertilize the plant once a year. The best time to do it is in Spring. The best fertilizer for rhododendron should contain high nitrogen, calcium, and magnesium.
D. Some Common Rhododendron Problems
Similar to any other plants, rhododendron also has some common problems that might disrupt or damage the growing process. Luckily, most of those problems are solvable.
First, if your rhododendron is getting yellow or chlorotic leaves you might want to take a careful look at your drainage system and planting technique.
The poor drainage system will cause harm to rhododendron root while planting it too deeply can prevent the root to develop.
Second, if the rhododendron has crinkly leaves, it might be caused by two things: cold wind and frozen soil. Both can cause the leaves to wrinkle and die. To prevent this, try covering the plants or relocate them to a warmer place.
Third, if your beautiful rhododendron flowers have some pale spots and grey stains, it means that the plants are infected with a fungal disease. To cure them, you should use a fungicide with the appropriate dose. You can also try to prevent the infection by applying fungicide in the Spring.
Based on the rhododendron facts above, we can safely say that rhododendrons are not that difficult to grow. Now it is clear why this plant is quite popular among novice gardeners and florists.
Although it is not very challenging, growing rhododendron should always be taken seriously.
The frequent watering duty in the first year also requires discipline and consistency. Without both attitudes, your effort to grow those beautiful flowers may fail halfway.