New rhodie grower and struggling
I can grow just about anything, but I've never been able to keep azaleas alive and this year I bought my first rhodies, two PJMs to flank our front walk. Their performance has been variable. One died within a week (sudden and irreversible wilt) and the nursery replaced it for me. The replacement seems to be happy and is beginning to set next year's buds. No problem there.
The other one is leaf rolling and wilting on one half of the plant. This started a couple days ago when temperatures rose into the 90s.
Here are some cultural facts, and I'm looking for some advice on what else I can do or what I've done wrong:
-- I amended the soil real well with peat and humus, added a bit of aluminum sulphate and let it sit over the winter and into the spring. Then I bought and planted the rhodies. The soil was high in organic content and very fiable when I started; the pH was just too high for a rhododendron. It is now at about 6.0.
-- I made sure to plant the rhodies a couple of inches above the soil level and not bury the roots too deeply. They are mulched with shredded pine needles.
-- I pruned the roots at planting time, and used a pruner cleaned with alcohol.
-- Both plants have been watered adequately, but not fed yet. I also did not spray them with any pesticide. I found the odd bit of anthracnose on one of them but just removed those leaves.
-- It is a very well protected area that is mostly shaded, with some dappled sun in the afternoon. Hostas, hydrangeas, ferns, impatiens, brunneras and ligularias do really well in the area, so I think rhodies should, too.
I don't see any sign of root rot or drying out. I'm hoping this is just leaf roll that will resolve when the temps drop next week. It just bothers me that one half of one plant is looking wilted. Any advice would be really appreciated, thanks.