I purchased four rhododendron bushes, now where do I plant them?

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I live in Anchorage Alaska. These need to be planted in partial shade. I intended to put them in front of an east facing window that would get more sun but they would be sheltered by the house when mulched for winter. The other location would be in a raised bed against a west facing wall. I think they need to be right next to the house because we are zone 3-4 that can get well below zero in our icy, snowy, long, cold winters. I am afraid they might be damaged by so much sun. They are beautiful plants that remind me of home; I want them to thrive, grow and bloom for many years. Their tag says they are hardy to 30* below zero.

  5 answers
  • 2dogal 2dogal on Jun 24, 2017

    scroll down to page 3. A lot of local information. Master Gardeners are a great organization and so willing to assist locally. Cal them, they may even come to your home with helpful hints.
  • Grammy G Grammy G on Jun 24, 2017
    I to live in zone 3-4. Some years ( 20) I purchased a small rhodendron bush from a local grocery chain for $4.00. It is planted next to my house facing west. It has grown to a size of about 4 feet wide and about 4 feet tall. I feed regularly from early spring to late fall with Miracid like the label told me to . Last year it took the year off and didn't blossom at all and I had decided to have my lawn man dig it up this spring and plant it near my garage facing north. Well lo and behold you should have seen it this spring. It was so beautiful that everyone in the neighborhood remarked they had never seen it blossom like that ever. I hadn't even fed it any miracid at all. I didn't move it. Try the miracid on a regular basis from early spring till it is done flowering in late June here and try planting it close to your house perferably on the west side as they like the pm sun and am shade. Good Luck. They are so beautiful.
  • Julie King Julie King on Jun 24, 2017
    High acid soil and bright sun but need protection from harsh weather
  • Eileen B Hinerman Eileen B Hinerman on Jun 24, 2017
    My father hybridized and raised rhododendron for decades. We lived in southeast Michigan. He used acidic soil and always protected the roots with a thick mulch of wood chips - I don't recall the type of mulch but the wood chips also were acidic. He mixed vermiculite in the soil around the root ball to help with drainage, and mixed in some peat moss. His garden was under a stand of mature pine trees, where they received very filtered light. The results were rhodos covered with many beautiful blooms in the spring, and lots of new growth. In winter cold snaps, he would cover the more delicate hybrids with burlap, bringing the burlap to the surround the plant and anchor it at the base of the plant. He used hardy rhodos to hybidize with the more delicate southern species, with the goal of making the southern plants with their more exotic blooms hardy in the northern zones. "Yaku Prince" was one of the hardy hybrids that he used, and I purchased one years later and planted it where it got some early morning sun and shade the rest of the day, and it did beautifully. I confess I didn't give it the attention my father would have, and it did well anyway. Planting rhodos in protected areas is important, like next to a house, but beware of leaky eve troughs for they may get too much water. If you want to plant a rhodo in an area that gets more sun than they like, you may want to consider using a fence near it/them to block all but the morning sun, and protect them from wind. Remember rhododendrons are considered shade plants! The afternoon sun is too strong for them, and they don't like windy areas.
    My father was a Master Gardener, and I place great faith in his skill for raising, hybridizing, and growing rhododendron. Did you know that rhodo's don't bloom until they're 5 years old? Nurseries have to care for them for at least 5 years until a plant can hit the market, which partly explains the cost of the plants. Good luck! These spectacular plants are well worth the effort in caring for them.
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