What's with the color change of my PJM?

kersan524(z5IL)October 6, 2005

I know that rhodies are evergreen and that the leaves will turn a mahogany color with the onset of cooler temps.--but why are my leaves turning a deep golden then gradually orangish then red? They're lovely fall colors , but for a plant that I didn't think should turn those colors. When I tug at the leaves they are not detaching or ready to come off like I think they would if they were dying. Otherwise the plant looks healthy and has done fairly well getting through our midwest drought. It has been in the ground for about one year; it has alot of flower buds set and visible for next spring so that's no indicator. It doesn't look to have the sickly yellow-green color or characteristics of a chlorotic plant and the orange/red leaves seem to be lower or inside leaves. Any insights or rcommendations?

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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Rhododendrons, although evergreen plants, do lose some of their leaves. Sometimes the leaves turn yellow, but they can also be surprisingly bright colors before dropping...yours will drop when they are ready. As long as you aren't seeing something odd with this last seasons growth, you have nothing to be concerned about.

Most varieties hold their leaves for two years and then in the third year, as summer progresses and days shorten, the lower leaves turn color and drop off the stems.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2005 at 2:44PM
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My PJMs leaves actually look almost blackish-purple. This is the first year I've had them so I hope its just the change of the season.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2005 at 8:22PM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

PJM colors up nicely for me every year in the fall. Here's a picture of mine I took a few days ago. It is one of my favorites.

Here is a link that might be useful: PJM Rhododendron

    Bookmark   October 14, 2005 at 12:04PM
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My rhododendron has changed from a white flowering one to a pink. How is that possible? It hasn't bloomed since I bought it two years ago and has pink buds this year. Is it caused by the chemical composition of the soil? Thanks for any information.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 8:14AM
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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

I only know of one variety of rhododendron that has white buds and white flowers. All the other "white" rhododendrons have pink or red buds that open to pinkish white or white flowers. The Yaks are the most famous for this. They always open pink and fade to white.

Album Elegans fades to white

Catawbiense Album has pink buds that open and fade to white

R. maximum has a fair amount of pink even when it blooms

Boule de Neige opens white, the only hardy white I know that does.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 9:21AM
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Thanks for the info. Maybe it will be white when it blooms then. I wanted a white one, got it and have waited two years for it to bloom. Winters are hard here in Maine but it has survived.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 6:44PM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

Thanks for the info rhodyman, that is pretty interesting. I haven't studied the whites carefully but now that I think about it, it does almost always seem that they are another color in bud. Even though I prefer certain colors I want to have some white and purples in my garden for contrast. Rarefind has an amazing 'Gable's Hardy White' [decorum] which I believe would be hardy for you in zn 6 with ridiculously gigantic white flowers. I saw it touring the display gardens but forgot to get it when I was purchasing plants! That's a dangerous place to shop in May if you like rhododendrons...I alway spend at least 50% than I wanted to.
One of the only whites I currently own is "Silver Sovereign".

    Bookmark   June 6, 2009 at 10:24PM
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