The Q&A Archives: Rhododendron

Question: hello my question has to do with a rhododendron plant that has done very well in a shady location. My one concern for the plant is its under a tree that loses its leaves, and will get a lot of winter sun. do you think the plant will be able to tolerate direct sun for the winter? thank you

Answer: It's difficult to say how your rhododendron will do because some varieties are more adaptable to weather conditions than others. In general, the larger the leaves, the more protection from the sun it needs. If the rhodie was well watered during the fall months, the leaves will not be as susceptible to winter burn (from sun and drying winds). Another consideration is the angle of the sun. The concern is that the sunshine may directly hit the leaves which could cause thawing and refreezing. That in itself won't kill the plant, but it can make the leaves look bad so you'll want to remove the damaged leaves in the spring. Winter sunshine is not as intense as summer sun so the damage may not be too great. I think the best approach is to watch and wait. If your rhodie looks like it is suffering damage from the elements you can construct a temporary barrier next fall. Best wishes with your garden!

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