Ideas on Where to Plant That Rhodie
By Walt Elliott, Shelton, Washington
Reprinted from the Shelton Chapter Newsletter
Locations with regard to their tolerance for sun, cold, wind and wet.
The planting site for optimum growing requires:
- Acid soil (peat and humus)
- Some shade and shelter according to variety ex. 'Snow Queen' - must have shade. "Jean Marie de Montague" - full sun or semi shade
- North and east sides of buildings are best locations for rhodies
- Minimize winds
- Temper frosts
- Increase humidity
- Moderate temperature
2, 4, 5, 6 and 7 above can be achieved best through use of trees. The trees increase the humidity and moderate high and low temperatures. Even deciduous trees with the leaves gone will break up wind currents and preserve the leaves of the larger leafed varieties.
Companion trees: pines and oaks are best. Dwarf maples, sweet and sour gums are also good. Hemlock and Douglas fir roots are invasive.
Decorative screens - free standing backgrounds of fencing material in hot spots where there are no trees can provide protection and create a point of interest.
Locations as to lot size, architecture, and color coordination.
- Rhodies best planted in a border or island planting with other shrubs. Small trees add some shade and height to a planting.
- On a small lot lighter shades at the perimeter create the illusion of distance.
- Avoid the use of the large growers in foundation plantings around the one story home.
- Robust growers should be planted nine feet apart.
- Rhodie plantings next to the house should be compatible with house and foundation colors.
- Plant in masses - Rhodies in nature grow in colonies (plant by type) triflorums together - forrestii and their hybrids together, etc. Three or five plants of same color better than even numbers.
- For effect a. Progression of light to dark shades in same color. b. Grouping of all pastel shades c. Rhodie with a blotch - group with rhodies the color of the blotch.
- Colors which clash can be separated with an expanse of green foliage - pines - andromeda.
The species forrestii v. repens, hanceanum, impeditum, radicans, yakushimanum, keleticum, williamsianum and some of their small hybrids are good.
NOTE. Rhodies are easily moved. Color clashes or scale errors can be corrected through trial and error.