The Q&A Archives: Rhododendron

Question: I have a rhododendron bush and there is not much foliage or flowers on it. Not sure what to do with it. Please help.

Answer: Sudden or rapid decline usually indicates a pest or disease problem, where slow decline generally indicates some cultural problem. If your rhododendron has not been doing well for quite some time, it may not be getting the sunlight, moisture or nutrients it needs. Rhododendrons thrive in rich, moist, acidic soils. Some cultivars grow best in full sunshine and others prefer shade. If yours is in full sunshine now, move it to a partially sunny location. If it's in full shade, move it to a partially sunny location. That might be enough to help it perk up and produce new leaves and flowers. When you transplant, dig a hole larger than the root mass, set the plant in the hole so it's at the same level it was growing before, then fill in with soil, tamping gently until the hole if filled. Then mulch with an acidic material such as pine needles or peatmoss. Water your plant well (one inch of water per week) and feed next spring with an acid based fertilizer. Hope this helps your rhodie thrive!

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