Wilting Rhody - cold or ??

OregonEdDecember 6, 2013

Hi all-

One of our rhodies has been wilting worse and worse over the past 7-10 days.

We have about ten various rhododendron in our yard. We were not in this house last winter, so I don't know how the plants behave over winter time.

I thought this rhody needed water because it is on a good draining slope. I watered it on Thanksgiving one week ago.

Our fall temperatures have been mild until recently. Highs in 50's, lows in 40's.

This week we dropped into the 30's and lows lately in the 20's and upper teens. That is cold for us here in Portland.

So here are pictures. Any idea what is happening to my large rhododendron?


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Second picture.
Also, I do not know the variety.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2013 at 12:17AM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Rhodies look wilted for several reasons.

One is that they're dry. The other is that they're cold.

You can determine which it is with your rhody if you watch it during the day. A cold rhody will "recover" -- ie: not appear wilted -- during the warmth of the day.

That said, here, last night's low was 15, today's high 32. (Brrr) My several rhodies were "wilted" all day. (No chance for them to warm up.!)

    Bookmark   December 6, 2013 at 1:31AM
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Rhododendron varieties vary in their response to cold. All will roll their leaves to a greater or lesser degree once the temperature drops below freezing, but the speed and extent of "unrolling" once the air temperature goes above 32 degrees can vary quite a bit. Thus you may have some rhododendrons that look perfectly normal once it warms while others will stay at least partially rolled. If there's any question about dryness, check around the roots, but I would bet that cold temperatures are the cause.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2013 at 5:15AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

As indicated you can tell how cold it is by how rolled up rhododendrons are - they do this to reduce the surface area presented to the air when the root zone is frozen. If the shrub shown doesn't open up after the non-frosty weather comes in a few days, and stays rolled up then you know there is a problem.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2013 at 4:41AM
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Thanks everyone!

As the temps got colder over the last week, other rhododendrons in my yard have also curled up.

Both the Rhodies and I are looking forward to increasing temps later this week :)

    Bookmark   December 11, 2013 at 11:39AM
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