The Q&A Archives: rhodedendron without leaves

Question: I have a rhodendendron that I've had for several years. This year, it is coming up without ANY leaves at all... yet, I have a few flowers blooming on it. I have never ever seen anything like that before. I was going to give the plant for dead and start over, but I worry there is something in the soil that will cause the same problem again. Does this sound like a disease or a contaminant?

Answer: Rhodies can lose their leaves due to winter injury but that typically affects the flower buds, as well. Unless there is a critter feasting on the foliage, I can't imagine why all the leaves dropped but the flower buds remained intact. Since it is blooming, it must still be alive. At this point I can only suggest you wait and watch. If your rhodie develops new leaves later this spring, some hungry creature ate the old ones or they dropped due to weather conditions. Hope it recovers!

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