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rhododendron cluelessness

Posted by david883 6, MI (My Page) on
Sun, Jun 24, 12 at 22:32

I just bought this house six months ago and I've been eyeing this rhododendron in the garden since spring when it started springing back to life... Now I am totally clueless as to what to do with this thing. Its like a vine that wants to be a shrub (or shrub that wants to be a vine... I can't decide). I know I need to get some acidic soil for it but pruning/shaping suggestions would be helpful. Maybe its a youngster but it looks pretty pathetic to me right now. I know its probably from the lack of care it received from the previous owner's absence (she went into an assisted living home, leaving her son in charge of "caring" for the place... long stories) and my lack of knowledge on this plant. Any help/suggestions anyone has would be helpful

Thanks again!


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: rhododendron cluelessness

It's not a rhododendron. My best guess, based on the leaves and growth pattern, is some variety of euonymus.

RE: rhododendron cluelessness

Well then... Don't I feel (and probably look) very stupid. A friend of mine told me it was a rhododendron but... The leaves looked a little different to me but I thought with different varieties and such... thanks for letting me know.... hehe

RE: rhododendron cluelessness

Okay I just looked up euonymus... The flowers don't look at all like what my mystery plant has. The mystery plant did have some pathetic flowers on them that slightly resembled that of rhododendrons or azaleas... I just go out there and stare at it sometimes hoping it will tell me what to do with it...

RE: rhododendron cluelessness

OK. My next guess is a variety of lonicera, aka honeysuckle. The blooms of some do look a bit like those of azalea-type rhododendrons and the leaves in the picture do fit.

I hope my original reply did not suggest or imply "stupidity". Every single gardener begins somewhere and it really is only through years of experience and questions that knowledge is acquired.

RE: rhododendron cluelessness

There are two common types of honeysuckle, a bush form and the one you have which is a vine form. The most common vine form is Japanese (or Chinese) Honeysuckle. It is found throughout the US and Canada. When it blooms it has a powerful sweet odor. It is invasive

Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)

It actually does have both white and yellow flowers. They open white and turn yellow with age. It blooms from late April through July and sometimes in October.

Just so you don't feel bad, many people call some azaleas honeysuckle azaleas and azaleas are a type of rhododendron.

Rhododendron canescens is called Honeysuckle Azalea.

Rhododendron viscosum is called Swamp Honeysuckle

Rhododendron periclymenoides is also called Honeysuckle Azalea. Notice the red stems just like honeysuckle.

Even though they are commonly confused, they are not closely related. Honeysuckles are related to Teasels. Rhododendrons are in the family of acid tolerant plants and are related to Heath, Heather, Mountain Laurel, Huckleberry, and Madrone.

Here is a link that might be useful: Japanese Honeysuckle in Michigan

RE: rhododendron cluelessness

I just looked into these and re-stared at my plant... that is TOTALLY what it is! HA HA! Thank you everyone!
akamainegrower - no worries. You didn't imply that! I feel totally comfortable with my gardening cluelessness. Learning this stuff takes time.

Now... I know this is still the rhododendron forum but... anybody have any suggestions on when the best time/way to move one of these things is. Now that I know its not trying to be a shrub, just trying to climb, I want to move it to where it can do that!

RE: rhododendron cluelessness

Should have mentioned... Obviously I'm doing my own transplanting research, too, but if anyone had any personal experience suggestions, I'll gladly take them!
...Apologies again for hijacking the rhododendron forum for the honeysuckle tehehe I'll post something in that forum, too!

RE: rhododendron cluelessness

I don't think you can kill it. It is invasive and needs to be contained. Here is what Michigan State says about it:

Japanese Honeysuckle competes aggressively below ground for nutrients and above ground for light; has been limited in past by cold winter temperatures but becoming more aggressive in southeastern Michigan; experiences much higher growth rates at higher CO2 levels than native honeysuckles. Cutting, pulling and burning Japanese honeysuckle may weaken it but will not eliminate it. Foliar herbicide treatment provides effective control.

Here is a link that might be useful: Michigan Invasive Plant List

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