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Hi there. Im very new to all this gardening malarky so please be gentle!! I have aquired a healthy wild rhododendron which is approx 3ft x 3ft. It was dug up by my dad on the roadside (works for council clearing verges). It has a large shallow rootball. My main question is... Will this survive being planted into my garden. I know they require acid rich soil and assume mine must be as it grows conifers really well. I dug the whole 10" deep and added some eracious compost then planted the rhodo into it,with the top of rootball being level wirh the surface of my garden. If it will survive, i would like to keep it smallish so it doesnt take over. Can thos be done with pruning? Also,what species of rhodo is it likely to be? Thanks.


Hello Chops. This looks like Rhododendron ponticum. It is an introduced species to this country and is causing havoc wherever it grows.

Whole areas of Britain are being invaded by it and hundreds of hours of volunteer work are put into clearing it every year. It will grow as tall as your bedroom windows and drown anything else in the garden.

Enjoy it while it is young, but throw it in the bin when it gets too large.

Thanks for the reply. Is it not possible to keep it small by pruning it every year?

Hi Chops

It is Rhododendron ponticum, the common rhododendron. I can be pruned quite hard to keep it small, the problem is you will then have very few flowers. It will grow in any acid soil, rich or poor. Have a look at what your neighbours grow, if they have Camellias, Pieris and Azaleas then you have the right soil in that area. Keep it watered through this summer as it is not rooted into your garden soil and unable to access the water there.

I agree with pansyface, I love them and we have them everywhere round where I live and they can get huge.  If you wanted something small like that I'd go for a azalea type of rhodo, i think they tend to be smaller and might be a bit more to scale with your front garden. 

Good luck. 



Yes, looks like R. ponticum. They can be pruned, but they often dont flower the year after pruning. It will grow to a humungous size in a few years, but I like them.

Steve 309

Hear hear!   I did my back in during January, trying to clear some of this pernicious foreign weed,  I agree that it looks spectacular but it smothers everything else. 

Don't throw it in the bin: burn it so it can't spread!


It's a small area to have it in Chops. I'd get shot of it if it was me but you might want to enjoy it just now. I'd buy a reliable named variety if you want  a rhodie for the front garden. They'll take a while to get big and you can prune them to keep them the height you want.


Am I right in thinking that it is poisonous to bees or did I just dream that?

Seems there is a love hate divide on this shrub!
There is nothing else in my front garden except 2 conifers in both corners.

If it can be kept under controll with pruning and shaping then ill see how it goes.

Sorry! I personally loathe them! I was wrong about them being poisonous to bees, it's the honey that is poisonous to us.

Thanks for the reply. Is it not possible to keep it small by pruning it every year?

Prune them but have no flowers next year. Don't prune them and move house....

Steve 309

Prune it with a saw, about 2" above the ground then chop of the regrowth as it appears.  Should only take a few years to get rid of it.

(Personally, I'd do the same with the conifers, but chacun a son gout).

(Ducks to avoid missiles)

I thought that pruning back to a small bud on the branch in spring before the existing buds have flowered would allow it to be shaped and kept small.



Some things just don't do small.

Tottaly understand what your saying. Will maybe just leave it until i find a cheap/reduced price genuine rhodo after the summer. Surely the garden centred will start selling them off

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