Advice for taking care of Rhodie for next year.

cave76(8)May 4, 2013

I live in a large apartment complex that has many Rhodies planted around it (Oregon, so the Rhodies love it).

I don't know if the management or their gardeners are taking care of the Rhodies properly. (I'm not Jewish but I do have Jewish Mother traits. :) I hope that isn't offensive to anyone. I mean it in the best of possible ways.)
But the mgt. saves money wherever they can.
An automatic watering nozzle was turned off for this Rhodie last year. I didn't water it myself but I could easily do that this year when we have our dry spells.

I have a very large Rhodie just off my patio and if it needs any care other than the rain we get here I'd be willing to do it.

So-should I fertilize it next year before bloom season? I know I should use acid fertilizer if I do.
Should I use any fertilizer before then?
Is there anything I can do to help this Rhodie after it stops blooming this year? (The blooms seem to be fewer or smaller, but I guess that can be just a yearly thing.)

So, should I just keep my hands off? Or can I help it?

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A small amount of fertilizer such as Holly Tone right after blooming, plus mulch, plus watering when its needed will likely help.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 5:40AM
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Thank you akamaine, I just didn't want to 'mother it to death'. :)

I'll fertilize it and mulch it (but the hired gardeners come around and rake leaves etc out occasionally. I may put a sign up.) Willamette Valley is never quite 'dry' but I'll water it when we're having a dry spell, which is now.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 10:16AM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

I'm north of you, but my guess would be a more important time to supply supplemental water would be in Aug, Sept, which are typically our dryer months. It would be approximately during that time too that the flower buds for next year would be set, so not letting it experience drought in late summer and early Fall may be helpful.

My own (coastal, and a little cooler here) rarely need supplemental water before late July at the earliest, even with the above average temps we experienced over last weekend :)

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 8:56PM
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morz8----- Thank you. I'll keep that in mind and try not to give too much water at the wrong times. You've been helpful.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 11:12AM
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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

I was just in the Portland and Seattle areas at the Rhododendron Society convention. We visited many of the top rhododendron gardens and I asked all of them if they watered. Virtually none watered except for the first two years after planting. They were just very observant. If the plants were wilted in the morning, then they would attempt to get water to the plant. If the plants were wilted in the heat of the day or in the evening, that is normal and do not water.

Of course nurseries water regularly but they use a media that drains quickly to avoid root rot. Root rot is more of a problem then drought. But keep an eye out for severe drought which will be obvious in the morning.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 7:58PM
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@rhodyman----- thanks for your input---- and all of you.

Another question? I'm considering getting 2 Rhodies to put on my patio. Would they do o.k.? I'm home all the time and can water carefully. I imagine that some types of Rhodies would do better in containers than others.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 6:06PM
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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

You are asking for a challenge.

First make sure the container is very well drained.

Second, make sure the soil won't get hot when the sun hits the container. It is best to use a planter inside a wooden planter.

Third, try to only water when the plants begin to show some drought stress. To much water is a real killer. Ideally they would get enough water from rain.

Fourth, don't underestimate how big it will get. The stated size is when 10 years old. They don't stop growing then.

Fifth, you have the advantage you can bring the container inside if a late frost is predicted which would kill the flowers when it is in bloom. But bringing inside in winter is a challenge. Too much heat prevents dormancy. It is much better to leave outside except for a severe cold spell, when the protection of an unheated garage or shed might be beneficial.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 6:01PM
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I read your first sentence and decided that I wasn't going to 'ask for a challenge'. (grin)
I'd read many Internet sites about container rhodies and of course the ones selling rhodies said some were o.k. for containers. Well, I know just enough about reading between the lines on seller's sites to want to check further.

Your reply gave me all the reasons I needed to discard the idea of a container rhodie. Not that it can't be done, I guess, so others might consider it.

I'm a very senior citizen and wouldn't be able to bring it inside. And even if I weren't a senior I doubt I'd want to take that trouble.
I live PNW and the weather isn't 'severe' but it still might impact a containerized rhodie.

So, thank you all so much for your expert advice. I think I'll just find a nice juniper or such for my patio. Or something else. Don't know yet.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 1:21PM
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