Enriching gardens with spectacular trusses of vibrant or delicate pastel-hued blooms from December to August, there is an enormous range of evergreen and deciduous varieties. Without doubt, they are the key to creating fetching features on acid soil. Yielding thickly or sparsely clustered, bell or trumpet shaped blooms, rhododendrons are long-lived and mature within 5-10 years. Plant them to enhance woodland glades, borders, rock gardens, patio pots, and conservatories. Associate them with other lime-hating plants, such as azaleas, Japanese maples, lilies, camellias and conifers. Hardy hybrids and species grow and flower best in a dappled, shady spot shielded from strong wind. Soil must be acid and well-drained, cool and moist throughout the year and fortified with moisture-conserving organic matter. Dig in plenty of well-rotted manure, garden compost, or leaf mould before planting.