Dwarf rhody/azalea? Help needed.

AzaleaAnneJune 14, 2013

This plant has mostly variegated leaves that look like azalea, but it also has some pure green leaves on one branch that look like mini rhododendron leaves. It has lovely red flowers, almost all on the green branch. It also has leaf gall, which i am removing, and spraying the plant with neem oil. It does not flower very much, but the green-leafed branch had a lot of flowers, so I'm guessing the problem is not lack of sun. Also, nearby azaleas have flowered in past years, but not as much this year. Not sure if it's the cool rainy summer, or if the fungus that affects this one is starting to affect them. There are some roses nearby, too, but they seem healthy.

Any advice appreciated!

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I'm in zone 5, if that helps.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 12:17PM
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Most variegated azaleas/rhododendrons are prone to reversion. That is, stronger growing non-variegated branches frequently appear. In time, they tend to overwhelm the variegated parts. If you wish to insure a variegated fuure for this plant, you should prune out the branches with plain green leaves.

The plain green portions probably bloom better because they contain more chlorophyll and naturally do better. Variegated forms can burn in intense sun - although this is less of a problem in Z5 than in warmer climates - so moving this plant may do more harm than good.

Poor bloom in evergreen azaleas of all kinds is nearly always a result of winter cold. Z5 is very difficult for most evergreen azaleas. This past spring has been particularly tough as well because of extreme temperature swings which damaged buds that made it through the winter.

Neem oil is unlikely to do anything against leaf galls - you're doing the best thing by picking them off and disposing of them.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 5:00AM
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Thank you. It was a cold winter.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 10:38AM
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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

The weather the previous summer is what affects the flower bud set for the present years blooming. A gloomy spring or summer this year has no effect on this years bloom.

If you winter was too tough, you should still see dead flower buds, but they should still be there.

If they are rebloomers, the first bloom depends upon last summer's weather and the rebloom depends upon this summer's weather.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 6:01PM
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