What are suitable planting sites for azaleas and rhododendrons?


What are suitable planting sites for azaleas and rhododendrons?


Proper site selection is important when planting azaleas and rhododendrons.  Azaleas prefer partial to full sun.  Rhododendrons perform best in protected sites in partial shade.  Areas that receive morning sun and afternoon shade are usually good sites for rhododendrons.  Avoid windy, exposed sites.  During the winter months, strong winds and bright sunlight can dry out rhododendron foliage and cause extensive leaf burn.  

Azaleas and rhododendrons require well-drained, acidic soils.  The preferred soil pH for azaleas and rhododendrons is 4.0 to 5.5.  However, the pH of most garden soils in Iowa ranges from 6.5 to 7.5.  The soil pH needs to be lowered to successfully grow azaleas and rhododendrons.  Planting azaleas and rhododendrons in wet, poorly drained soils usually results in their death.  Gardeners with poorly drained sites should build berms or raised beds to insure good drainage. 


Links to this article are strongly encouraged, and this article may be republished without further permission if published as written and if credit is given to the author, Horticulture and Home Pest News, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. If this article is to be used in any other manner, permission from the author is required. This article was originally published on . The information contained within may not be the most current and accurate depending on when it is accessed.