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Rhododendron and Azalea

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Rhododendrons or Azaleas have one thing in common: their generous and bright spring flowering. Evergreen Rhododendrons with dark green or variegated foliage bear clusters of often huge flowers in colours ranging from white to bright red. They measure from 40cm (16in) for dwarf varieties to over 5m (16ft) for giants. Japanese Azaleas develop a rounded habit with small, dark green evergreen leaves, while Chinese Azaleas have deciduous, green foliage that turns colour in autumn. Both bear trumpet-shaped flowers in vibrant colours. Acid-loving plants, Rhododendrons and Azaleas are planted in acidic, moist, and humus-rich soil in semi-shaded positions. They require little care: a mulch of pine bark, a special rhododendron fertilizer, and every 4 years, renewing the soil of heather at the base of the bushes. Pruning is unnecessary except to remove faded flowers. Rhododendrons and Azaleas can be used in containers or in the ground, in beds, borders, hedges, or shady rockeries, by choosing the right size. Tip: Slow down watering in summer without letting the soil dry out to promote the development of flower buds. Beware of chlorosis, iron deficiency, if the leaves turn yellow with green veins.


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