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I have three large potted Rhododendrens approx 1.5 m high which are becoming too big for the patio. I would love to plant these in the garden but unfortunately I have chalky soil which I know they are not suited to. My question is .. is it possible to treat an area with ericaceous soil and feed etc to put them in, or ... I believe I have read cases where people dig holes and put the pot (plant and all) in the ground? Thanks
My personal feeling is that you'd always be fighting to correct their planting environment in the soil, whereas in containers you have much more control. Even if you sunk the containers into the garden, the roots would probably creep out from the bottom into an inhospitable environment.
Perhaps pruning them to keep them of a size to sit happily on the patio might be an option?
What about a large bed (raised or not) lined in some way that you can fill with ericaceous compost? One person on here (I forget who) has the brilliant idea of having one of their raised beds for acid lovers, so can grow things like blueberries, even though their native soil would kill them.
Leaving them in their pot would surely not be the answer, as if you bury the pot or not, they would still become pot-bound and need to be re-potted eventually.
Think you'll have to get the spade out over the bank holiday!
You could make a raised bed, but dig down about 2 or 3 feet as well then fill with ericaceous compost. If you use ericaceous feed that will help. Pretty sure you can buy a product to mix in a watering can to help maintain a more acidic soil too. Have a gander at this :
Or you can just use cold tea. Mum uses it for her azaleas, and the amount she drinks there's always a plentiful supply that she didn't manage to drink before it gets cold. She swears by it, and the azaleas are always covered in blooms.
Maybe not ideal but you can bury the pot and the p.ant will grow very well. I do this with pieris and couple of rhododendrons. They will last for years in largish pots. I also do this with blueberries with great success.
I think it's a very good way of growing these plants in alkaline soils. A sequestered iron in spring and amulch of ericaceous,compost or pine needles ensures success