The Q&A Archives: Rhododenrons

Question: Each spring for the past 3 years I have had to replace 4 yellow rhodys. They do not make it through the winter (western exposure). The leaves have brown spots, some have grey, moldy looking leaves. They appear to be sick. I have 2 other plants that are 9 and 4 years old that are just fine. Are there many different types? Can I revive the sick ones? If buying new ones again, should I avoid c

Answer: Rhododendrons and azaleas grow really well in Rhode Island so I think yours are suffering due to exposure. Rhodies grow on forest floors in many parts of the world, in shaded habitats with acidic soils rich in organic matter. Soils are often covered with a surface layer of decaying leaf litter. Matching these conditions where native rhododendrons and azaleas thrive is the key to their good health in the landscape. Plant in areas where soil has good drainage, is high in organic matter, and is acidic, that is, pH is low (6.0 or below). Partial shade and shelter from direct afternoon sun and winter winds are also recommended. So, before replacing your rhodies, check the site to make sure it's hospitible. If not, try planting in a more protected site. Best wishes with your landscape!

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