The Q&A Archives: Dehydrated Rhodoendron?

Question: We potted a Rhododendrun last spring that we purtchased from a Home Depot. It was beautiful all summer and fall. We kept it outside in a protected area this winter, watered it until the ground froze as per info I found online. The foliage looked great up until early spring and seems like over night all of the leaves curled up and turned brown. From everything I read, I am guessing it became dehydrated. Does not to this day(5-9) look any better. I read that all leaves should be removed and it will be ok with proper watering and fertilizing. Did we kill it someway?

Answer: Unfortunately based on your description I am not certain whether it is still dead or alive. If it were lack of water I think you would have seen a more gradual decline beginning at the tips and working through the plant. Cold damage can cause wilting and discoloration, and there are some fairly common rhododendron diseases that can cause this plant to wilt and discolor very suddenly and quickly. I would suggest you consult with your local county extension to try to obtain a specific diagnosis and based on knowing that, determine how to proceed. If it is something that can be controlled chemically, they will have the most up to date recommendations on what to use and how/when to apply it. I'm sorry you are having trouble with your rhododendron.

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