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The evergreen rhododendron Polarnacht was developed by German breeders in 1976 from the Purple Splendor and Turkana varieties. The plant is unpretentious in care and frost-resistant, blooms for about a month - from May to June.
Description of the variety of rhododendron Polarnacht
The Polarnacht rhododendron has juicy crimson flowers with corrugated petals. They have a unique feature - depending on the intensity of the illumination, they change their color to violet. In partial shade, the plant is covered with violet-blue, almost black flowers, in the sun - crimson-purple. No wonder the name of the variety in translation from German means "polar night".
The height of the bush is up to 1.5 m, the leaves are oval-oblong, glossy, dark green, up to 11 cm long. The crown is round, dense, flowers are collected in large inflorescences. The bark on the trunk is gray, smooth, young shoots are green. The roots of the plant are located superficially, they have a fibrous structure, grow in symbiosis with mycorrhiza.
Winter hardiness of rhododendron Polarnacht
According to gardeners, the winter hardiness of the Polarnacht rhododendron is good, it is suitable for growing in the 5th frost resistance zone. These are regions where the temperature in winter does not drop below -29 ° C. If it is much colder in winter, it is better to choose another, more frost-resistant variety or build a frame shelter for the plant. It will help the Polarnacht rhododendron to endure frost and bright scorching sun in February-March.
The root zone of the shrub is protected with mulch by carrying out water-charging autumn watering. In the spring, the protective shelter is removed in cloudy weather, after watering the rhododendron, the mulch is carefully raked away from the base of the bush until the soil warms up.
Growing conditions for the hybrid rhododendron Polarnacht
The evergreen rhododendron Polarnacht should grow in a place protected from the winds, in partial shade. The success of growing this ornamental shrub depends on the correct choice and preparation of the site before planting. Annual care will not cause difficulties - the plant needs to be watered 2-3 times a week, pouring at least 10 liters of water under the bush. For lush flowering, fertilizing with special fertilizer is important. If the winters in the region are cold, the Polarnacht rhododendron is covered with spunbond, constructing an air-dry shelter.
Planting and caring for the Polarnacht rhododendron
There are no particular difficulties in caring for the Polarnacht rhododendron. It is only necessary to maintain the acidity of the soil at a level that is comfortable for the plant, water and mulch the tree trunk on time. Sometimes the soil under the plant becomes compacted, which can lead to chlorosis. To loosen the soil, retreat 30 cm from the crown and pierce the ground with a pitchfork, making punctures, at a distance of 15 cm from each other around the entire bush. River sand is poured into the punctures and poured with water.
Attention! All parts of the shrub contain toxic substances, so you need to wash your hands after working with it.
Selection and preparation of the landing site
For the Polarnacht rhododendron, shown in the photo below, a place in partial shade, protected from the wind, is suitable. It grows well on the north side of buildings, where it is problematic to grow other plants. It can be planted under the crowns of evergreen pines and firs, where it will bloom annually.
- Rhododendron Polarnacht prefers acidic soil and will not live in another.
- The root system of the plant is superficial, but the hole is prepared in a depth of two shovels bayonets in order to fill it with an acidic soil substrate.
- For planting the Polarnacht rhododendron, sour peat, soil and coniferous litter from a pine forest are mixed in equal parts.
- The planting hole is filled with the prepared substrate, then the rhododendron is planted.
Important! Spruce needles are not suitable for planting, they contain aluminum salts, which will inhibit the development of rhododendron.
When choosing a seedling, they buy a copy that contains several flowers and a large number of buds. It is best for the plant to be grown in the local climate and survive at least one winter. Lush seedlings, all dotted with flowers, are sold from greenhouses, they look beautiful, but take root in the open field with difficulty.
Before planting, the Polarnacht rhododendron is removed from the planting container along with a lump of earth. Soak in a container with water, adding the drug "Mycorrhiza" or "Zircon" and "Kornevin" for 5-10 minutes. Then the root ball is squeezed out of moisture and planted in a prepared hole.
When placed in the planting hole, the root ball of the seedling should protrude 2-3 cm above the surface, as the soil sinks, it will settle. The roots are covered with soil and watered. From above, they must be mulched with sour peat or coniferous litter with a layer of 5 cm.At the end of planting, you can water the plant with the solution in which it was soaked. When the water is absorbed, add a little more mulch. Further care consists in regular watering, sprinkling over the leaves in the evening or early morning.
Watering and feeding
Caring for the planted Polarnacht rhododendron comes down mainly to watering. If it's hot, the plant is watered at least twice a week. The shallow root system dries out quickly when there is a lack of moisture, and the shrub can shed its leaves, which will not look very beautiful. Under normal conditions, green leaves of rhododendron live for at least two years, then replaced by new ones.
Rhododendron Polarnacht blooms in May, so it needs spring feeding. It is best to use a special fertilizer for azaleas and rhododendrons, which contains all the necessary nutrients and acidifies the soil. When laying the buds, double fertilizing with fertilizers containing phosphorus is carried out. During the season, it is advisable to fertilize the soil under the rhododendron at least 3-4 times - in early spring, before flowering and after flowering, during the formation of buds of the next year.
Proper pruning is essential for annual flowering. It is necessary to remove poorly formed and weak branches, and pinch off the faded buds. Then the rhododendron will direct all its forces to the formation of new inflorescences.
Preparing for winter
In the fall, water-charging watering of rhododendrons must be carried out in order to protect them from winter desiccation. Adult plants hibernate well without shelter if the thermometer does not drop below -29 ° C. Young rhododendrons in the first 2-3 years after planting need shelter. Before the onset of cold weather, the bushes are cut off, removing all dry and weak branches, for prevention they are treated with fungicides.
Advice! A frame shelter, erected in the fall, will serve well - in the spring the shoots of the rhododendron will not be broken.
If you don't have time to make the frame, you can cover the young bushes with spruce branches, and on top with spunbond. Before the shelter, the trunk circle is mulched with a layer of sour peat or coniferous litter with a layer of 15-20 cm.
Rhododendron Polarnacht, a photo and description of which is admired by gardeners, is propagated by cuttings. They start grafting in the summer after flowering, choosing a cloudy day for this, so that the cut branches are juicy and take root better. Rooting order:
- The cut semi-lignified branch is divided into several cuttings, 5-8 cm long. The lower cut is made oblique so as not to confuse it with the top when planting.
- Planting containers of small diameter are filled with a mixture of peat and sand in equal proportions, moistened with Kornevin solution.
- In cuttings, the lower leaf plates are cut off, which are in contact with the soil, and the upper ones are slightly shortened to reduce the area of moisture evaporation.
- The prepared shoots are deepened into the soil by 1-2 cm and covered with transparent plastic bottles with a cut off bottom or glass jars.
- The greenhouse is ventilated daily, opening the shelter for 10-15 minutes.
- Cuttings are kept in diffused lighting, air temperature - + 22 ... + 24 ° C and humidity - about 100%.
A plant grown from a cuttings can bloom one year after being planted outdoors.
Diseases and pests
With proper planting and cultivation techniques, the Polarnacht rhododendron does not get sick and is rarely attacked by pests. Specimens planted in the sun are more often affected. Weakened plants have reduced immunity, they are significantly behind in growth and can get sick, especially in the spring after removing the shelter.
Common diseases of rhododendrons:
- tracheomycotic wilting;
- bacterial root cancer;
- gray rot;
- late blight of roots;
All of these diseases, except for chlorosis, are treated with Bordeaux liquid or 0.2% Fundazole.
Chlorosis of rhododendrons is a nonparasitic disease, it arises from a lack of iron, plants cannot assimilate it with insufficient acidity of the soil and its excessive compaction. The first signs of damage are yellowing of the tissue between the veins. For treatment, a solution is prepared by adding "Zircon" and "Ferovit" to the water according to the instructions. Leaves are processed twice with an interval of 10 days.
On weakened rhododendrons, you can find such pests:
- spider mite;
- tobacco thrips;
- furrowed weevil;
- acacia false shield;
- rhododendron mite.
For insects and ticks, treatments with "Fitoverm", "Aktellik", "Karbofos" and other insectoacaricides are effective.
Rhododendron Polarnacht is highly decorative. This small compact shrub is covered with flowers during flowering. The unusual color of the corollas attracts - raspberry-purple, very bright, it goes well with evergreen conifers, in the shade of which the evergreen rhododendron Polarnacht likes to grow.
Reviews of the rhododendron Polarnacht
Inna Grebenshchikova, 38 years old, Krasnodar
Rhododendron Polarnacht takes pride of place in my garden. It was planted by my mother 10 years ago. During flowering, we all observe this miracle with pleasure. The rhododendron bush turns into a ball covered with crimson flowers. Flowering continues for more than a month, the rest of the time, dense gray-green foliage serves as decoration. I planted a Chinese Old Gold juniper with yellow needles next to it, and it turned out to be a wonderful composition.
Mikhail Rechentsev, 40 years old, Novocherkassk
My wife and I were choosing ornamental shrubs for a summer residence in the garden center. We were advised by the Polarnacht rhododendron. The consultant explained sensibly that it was necessary to fill the pit with acidic soil. We did everything on his advice. Now all the guests who come to us at the beginning of summer are surprised that this exotic plant is blooming in front of the main entrance. It turned out to be a good choice - an unpretentious rhododendron, I only water it, and the flowering is very beautiful.