Ask a Question forum: rhododendrons

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Apr 12, 2017 6:18 AM CST
Never can grow these. How can I improve their health or should I try growing something else?
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Apr 12, 2017 7:08 AM CST

It would help to know roughly where you are but from the pictures I wonder if they are getting too hot near the house and not getting enough water because of the roof overhang. I noticed a downspout in one picture so that might not be the problem with all of them. Maybe also they are getting too much sun, what direction is the house facing? Soil pH is also important with rhododendrons because they like an acidic soil. Yours don't look too bad from that point of view but there is maybe a hint of interveinal chlorosis which may indicate that the pH is slightly too high for them. Do you know what the soil pH is there?
[Last edited by sooby - Apr 12, 2017 7:09 AM (+)]
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Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
Apr 12, 2017 8:56 AM CST
There are sun and shade varieties.
They are shallow rooted. So shallow more frequent waterings. But let dry a little so as to not dround.
Deep watering will dround them
They'll also do better if you trim all the dead stuff out.
A little fertilizer wont hurt. Get the type for rhods/azaleas.
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.

Apr 12, 2017 10:58 AM CST
They are facing east and i live in nw new jersey zone 6AS
Name: Meri Taylor
SD (Zone 4b)
Apr 12, 2017 12:05 PM CST
How many do you have and how old are they? From the pictures I can't tell if they need to be pruned of any dead wood or not.

The first thing I'd do is get a ph test kit. Rhoddys and Azaelas have to have Acidic soil. They thrive under Pine trees. Could you get a soaker hose around them? Consistant watering with a timer would make it easier on you. I read that if you plant Impatiens in with Rhoddies the Impatiens will tell you when to water Rhoddies. They have the same water needs. Impatiens wilt? Water the Rhoddies! If the leaves curl up and/or twist its an indication that they need water. Rhoddies are heavy drinkers.

In fall or early spring they need an acidic fertilizer.

I think I'd keep bombarding them with water for now. Get a test kit, and fertilize them. Don't get Pine Straw as fertilizer or soil amendments tho, it takes a long time for them to breakdown and you need some good stuff now!

Good luck!

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