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Leave rhodo. in pot for another few weeks until bed is ready??

Posted by lceh 7 Central VA (My Page) on
Mon, Nov 17, 08 at 21:12

I have a "Janet Blair" rhododendron and 2 camellias I intended to get into the ground this fall, and now fall is slipping into winter. The border bed they will be going into is not quite ready -- I think it'll be 3 or 4 weeks before I can get them into the ground there. I hate to put them in a temporary bed somewhere else for just a couple of weeks (especially since I don't have a good place for that either!). Can I leave them in pots for another month if I keep them watered and spray them with Wilt-Pruf? I've never used Wilt-Pruf before; will it help keep them happy until they get their toes into the ground? FYI, I don't expect the temperature to drop below 30 or so for the next month, although there are always surprises....

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Leave rhodo. in pot for another few weeks until bed is ready?

Oops, I was wrong -- the temps are going to dip into the upper 20s this week. My husband suggested sticking them, pot and all, in the compost/leaf pile to insulate them, but I'm worried that might get too warm and put them into shock when they leave the toasty composting warmth and go into the cold!

RE: Leave rhodo. in pot for another few weeks until bed is ready?

  • Posted by morz8 Z8 Wa coast (My Page) on
    Tue, Nov 18, 08 at 11:20

For brief freezes, like a dip into the upper 20's overnight, I think your plants should be fine. You might want to move them temporarily up against the wall of your house for additional protection, place them under a larger evergreen shrub, or onto a semi protected porch to ease any worries. Adequately watered, of course. In a pinch, you can group them together, cover them with an old sheet or tablecloth.

RE: Leave rhodo. in pot for another few weeks until bed is ready?

Protect them from direct sun, wind and deer. They will be OK. The sooner you plant them the better. Don't water too much. Keeping the soil too wet is one thing that will definitely kill them.

Wilt-Pruf is only necessary if you can't protect them from the wind and sun. Wilt-Pruf is more important after planting since if you plant properly by opening up the roots, you will disturb the roots and cause some water stress.

Here is a link that might be useful: How to grow rhododendrons and azaleas.

RE: Leave rhodo. in pot for another few weeks until bed is ready?

I've moved them into a sheltered nook of the house out of the sun, so here's hoping they make it.... I will certainly use the Wilt-Pruf when I get them planted. Thank you for your help!

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