ponticum is an evergreen, hardy shrub which is so in the right lime-free conditions that it has become naturali7ed in many of our woodlands, and people often think of it as a native wild plant, although in fact it was introduced from Spain and Asia Minor. With its natural height of up to 6 m (20 ft), and its spread of 9 m (30 ft) or more, it makes an effective informal hedge or screen. Its purple and pink are borne in June.
General care: Plant in March, in lime- and chalk-free soil which has got some humus orin it, adding mould or hop manure if necessary. are surface-rooting, and must have some moisture-retaining material in the topsoil. Set the plants 90 cm (3 ft) apart if for a hedge, and 1.5 m (5 ft) apart or more for a screen, depending on the thickness of the screen required. Water on planting, and keep up the water if the first spring is dry. R. ponticum needs no , apart from any trimming necessary to keep it in shape, which should be done in the winter. Deadhead the flowers to stop the forming, unless they are needed for .
Propagation:harvested when they are ripe should be sown the following spring in or pans of soil-less compost. Alternatively, layer some long shoots any time in the summer.
Pests and diseases: Rhododendron bud blast turns the flower buds brown or black in the autumn. Control is by killing the carrier, theleaf hopper, by spraying with fenitrothion in August. Leaf-yellowing caused by chlorosis means that your soil is too alkaline to grow . You can try making it more acid by adding quantities of peat.