Nova Zembla (shrub Rhododendron)

(Question)

Hello,
I planted this at the corner of my house.
The tag says ‘3-6 hrs of daily sun’, ‘1.2 – 2m tall x 1.2 – 2m wide’

The spot has irregular sunlight – morning a couple hours, then fro early in the afternoon almost full –
1. Is this fine or too much sun?
2. Also there is only 30cm to the wall… Should I relocate later?
3. The second day several buds got ruined.. possibly bit by rabbits? I followed this advise on YouYube link and start covering the plant with a tulle fabric at night. Is it alright?

(Answer)

Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners.

According to Dirr’s Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs “Rhododendrons¬†thrive in well-drained, organic-laden, acid, moist soils. Provide as much sun as possible to foster maximum growth and flower bud set.” Both Missouri Botanical Garden and the Royal Horticultural Society recommend that this shrub can be planted in either full sun to part shade.

This is quite a large shrub, to save yourself the aggravation and to give the shrub the best possible chance to grow to it’s full potential I would move the shrub before it becomes too rooted. If you decide to let your Rhododendron grow in the spot for a while it can be moved later on with proper care. However, it should be noted that if your Rhododendron is well established in a site where it’s roots become intertwined with other trees and shrubs it may not be possible to move it. The American Rhododendron Society has an excellent article on Transplanting these beautiful shrubs.

Lastly, I do not see anything wrong with putting netting over your plant at night to prevent hungry squirrels from snacking on the juicy flower buds.

Here’s to many years of enjoyment.