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The best time to plant rhododendrons is either in spring, from early April to mid-May, as soon as soil warms up, or in autumn, from early September to early October, so that plants would still have time to root the ground freezes over. Rhododendrons can be planted any other time, if need be, except when in flower or when new shoots are growing fast, which is usually after, and sometimes during, the flowering period.
Rhododendrons, especially the evergreen kind, prefer crumbly, peaty, humus-rich and sharply drained soil. They are “surface rooters” with compact and dense roots, so the fertile layer of soil does not have to be very deep. As for mineral soils, rhododendrons prefer sandy and well-drained soils, since they are acid. Sandy and other mineral humus-poor soils can be improved by addition of organic matter – peat moss, tree leaves (oak), pine or larch needles, bark, well-rotted grass clippings.
A lot of Lithuanian gardeners are very fond of rhododendrons, which have become rather common, but they really are irreplaceable when one needs a colourful and evergreen plant to decorate a shady spot. Most rhododendrons are native to East and Southeast Asia, where summers are damp and rainy, and winters are snowy. In their natural habitat, rhododendrons grow on humus-rich and porous soils. Wild groves of rhododendrons can also be found in North America and Europe.