Question on Rhododendrons I Just Purchased

LindaMA(MA z5)April 3, 2008

The other day I purchased 2 PJM Rhododendrons and a large leaf white Rhododendron at Home Depot, the white one if pretty big, the two PJM's are a little smaller but still a decent size. Anyway, I was told that I could keep them outside until I was ready to plant them because they were raised outside and are hardy to my area, zone 5 in Massachusetts.

When I was leaving for work this morning, I noticed that the leaves on the two PJMs were all curled up to the point of making it look more like a pine tree than a rhody, is this a problem, could the cold from the night air be killing them? They're left outside at Home Depot, they were out in the garden area. Is this something that rhody's do at night, will they open up once the sun hits them? I could bring them in and put them in my basement.

I watered them just in case that may have been the problem, they seemed a little dry.

Any advice on this is greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

Linda

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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

The curling/rolling of the leaves is a normal response to freezing temperatures. This response to temperature changes is a rhododendron's method of preventing loss of moisture through the leaves.

Keep them watered, and put the containers someplace where morning sun (if it's clear and cold) won't burn them by shining on them while still curled and frozen, and they are protected from freezing winds.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 11:06AM
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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

Many retail plants are planted in a medium that needs watering every day so that non-gardening store employees can take care of them without overwatering. I would never water them without checking by picking up the pot to see how wet it is by how heavy it is. Anyway, you will need to water often, depending upon the weather. Keep them in partial shade, and as morz8 says, avoid morning sun.

Normally they won't have leaf curl until the temperature get down below freezing. If the leaves are curled when the temperatures are above freezing, they are probably too dry.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 2:15PM
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subtropix

Ditto what has been said about them folding under conditions of drought or severe cold. If this is the case, they will revert to normal once conditions improve. You should be getting them into the ground soon, no?

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 7:41PM
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