Neatening up a Rhododendron after it Blooms.

Taking off the Spent flower heads of a Rhododendron after it is done blooming

One of the Spring rituals that I still do, started in the early 1970’s with my Mother. It is the neatening up of the Rhododendron bush after it blooms. My Mother and I would go outside on a late Spring evening, and take off hundreds of wilted rhododendron flowers. To me, the stamens (possible seed head) of the rhododendron looks like a Daddy Long Legs Spider.

The process of neatening up the Rhododendron is quite easy. I am right handed. With my left hand, I hold the wilted flower stem, just below the new growth nubs, (see the illustration). With my right hand I snap off the spent flower / stamen (seed pod), at the brown spot on the illustration. The process goes quite quickly, and the plant feels a bit sticky to me. The main thing is to not snap off the growth nubs. That is where new branches and next year’s flowers will come from.

The reason we always took off the wilted Rhododendron flowers was to made the plant look better, and it made it easier for the new growth to develop. The stamens/seed pod does get in the way, and as the flowers all fall off, you have those stamens turning a brownish color, which we always thought was unsightly.

So maybe this year, you might try neatening up your Rhododendron. The first few dead heads that you snap off, might be a bit scary to do. But after those few, you will be a pro at doing it. And, as for not snapping off the growth nubs, here and there I snap one off. But OH WELL, that is life. Happy Snapping!


About fredgonsowskigardenhome

Your eyes deserve to view beauty. I hope Fred Gonsowski Garden Home helps to turn your vision, into a reality.
This entry was posted in Bushes, Shrubs, Trees, planting a SHADE GARDEN, The Spring Garden, The Summer Garden. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Neatening up a Rhododendron after it Blooms.

  1. Marlena Sensale says:

    Hi Fred,

    Would you be able to assist in roof and siding choices for a 1960 brick ranch in NC?

    Afraid to make expensive mistakes.

    I really need some help and you are a wealth of knowledge.



    • Hi Marlena,

      I don’t know what color brick you have on your house. I have a few suggestions. Get samples of different colors of roofing from your Home Depot, Lowe’s or roofing contractor. Take the samples, and slowly pass them by your brick. Look for ones that might have some of the color of your brick in them. If you are using an architectural shingle, shingles that are medium colored, and don’t have really dark shadow bars, will be less busy looking than ones that have really dark bars and really light colored sands. If you find a few shingles that you like, ask the shingle place if they will let you take home a BIG sample piece. If they don’t, try to get many small samples of what you like, and tape them together, to make a larger sample piece. Then set that piece next to your brick. Step back, and see if you like the two together. If your house is brick on all four sides, bring the sample around your house, and you will be able to see it in different light conditions. You could also try looking at it in the early morning, around noon, and early evening, to see how the different light effects the color of the shingle.

      As for siding colors, the sands that make up the shingle, might be the place to pull color choices from. Once you find a shingle, that you like with your roof, pick one of the sand colors from the shingle. If they are all dark toned, go to a paint store, find the exact color of paint as the shingle sand, and pick one of the lighter colors from that family of color for you house. Take many samples of the paint color, and tape them together, like I suggested with the roofing samples, to make a large sample of the paint color to look at. If you are picking some kind of vinyl siding, pass the samples by your brick and roofing sample, until you come across one that looks good to you. NEVER just pick a sample, and say this is it, until you put it next to your other elements. You must have all of your puzzle pieces together, to see if they fit. GOOD LUCK!

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