Rhody with issues

sicknickJune 12, 2012

My wife and I inherited this plant 8 years ago when we bought the house and it's never flowered in that time frame. It resides beneath large redwoods and next to an azalea that has always done great. Is there any help for it / us?

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In an effort to revive the plant, I cut it completely back two years prior to the photo. I did not get the desired results - plant has the same problems as before. We have three other rhodos on our property, two of them are in the ground and one is potted. The potted plant is doing well and the only one with consistent blooms. I'm a novice at gardening and appreciate any help I can get.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 1:28PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Brown edges to leaves, called "marginal leaf necrosis" can result from several causes. Truthfully, I'm not sure if any apply to your plant - if the cupping of the leaves is a result of the necrosis, or something else I'm unfamiliar with. Maybe one of the other regulars will know - but for starters,
Planting too deep when the plant was originally installed can lead to browned leaf edges and reduction in bloom.

Bad drainage can also cause brown leaf edges.

Healthy leaves equals healthy roots. If something has damaged roots (drainage, insects, mechanical damage) it can lead to brown leaf edges.

Summer drought can be another reason.... deep watering occasionally in summer will protect rhododendrons better than frequent light sprinkling.

Fertilizer burn can result in brown leaf edges as shown in your photo.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 11:33PM
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Almost 20 years ago I had some large leaf Rhodys that just didn't seem to like their locations. After a few years of sickly appearance & failure to thrive, I became so fed up that I literally ripped them out, roots and all, and "tossed" (not planted) the bare root balls in an area next to an outbuilding with the intention of "disposing" if them later. Well, I got lazy and left them there.
By the end of that summer, they both had new beautiful leaves growing from the base of the stem, and 4 years later I had the most gorgeous 10 feet tall Rhodies. It just came down to the original location not giving the plants what they needed, and accidentally finding the ideal location. Since 8 years is plenty of time, I say move it to a new location, maybe with more sun. Mine thrived after that!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 1:20PM
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Just wanted to thank those who provided input to my Rhodie problem. My wife had been thinking about ripping out the plant and starting over in a different location. We suspect roots from the Redwood trees may have played a role. We replanted another Rhodie that had been in close proximity to the one pictured here; into a large pot above ground and that plant has flourished! The potted Rhodie is within 5' of the one pictured here, leading me to believe root or soil issues exist. Unfortunately I don't know the repercussions of longterm potted Rhodies??

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 12:18PM
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