The phone rings and the person on the other end is asking, “What are those shrubs that are full of purple flowers right now?” The answer is one of the many varieties of Rhododendron. There are many varieties that are hardy in our area of Minnesota – ranging in color shades of violet, pink, red and even in white. Depending on the variety, the heights will range from 3′ to 7′. Many varieties will also provide you will some very pretty fall color as an added bonus.
These plants require well-drained, acidic soil. A pH of 4.0 to 5.5 is the best. To help get the pH balance correct, it is important to mix in some peat moss with your soil when planting your shrub. The best environment for a Rhododendron is in morning sun and afternoon shade. Avoid planting in areas that are quite windy. One of the few problems that you could see with a Rhododendron is root rot. Caution should be taken so not to over water, and do not plant in heavy soils.
The Seviceberry is under-used. This is a wonderful plant for those who have shade to deal with. Available in shrub form and tree form, the white blossoms in the spring add a delightful splash of color to spring’s rainbow of colors. The serviceberry does set purple-black edible fruit, making it a definite selection for landscaping for wildlife.
Our retail manager, Heidi Brosseau, is very creative with her displays. Along with the Serviceberry and Rhododendrons, pictured here is the perennial Candy Tuft with the snow white flowers and the old perennial standard, Lily of the Valley.