Rhododendrons: Rhododendron from Home Depot

Discussion in 'Ericaceae (rhododendrons, arbutus, etc.)' started by arzin, Apr 11, 2008.

  1. arzin

    arzin Member

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    Cincinnati, OH, USA
    We just bought and planted a rhododendron from Home Depot about a week ago. We planted it in a bed in front of our house that receives afternoon sun and decent rain. We are both new to gardening, so my question is, is it normal for the flowers to be on the bottom half of the plant and then to fall off after transplanting? The leaves are not discoloring, and there is new growth on the top of the plant, but I can't seem to find any new blooms (unless they don't look like typicals blooms would look at first). Did we do something wrong, or was it just the wind that took our flowers away?

    Thanks.
     
  2. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    rhody's don't do well in full afternoon sun. especially when they're not established (as is the case with the new transplant).

    rhody's do best in dappled sun/shade. any full sunlight should be in the morning only - the earlier the better.

    move it to the east side of the house or a very shaded spot elsewhere and it'll do much, much better.
     
  3. constantgardener

    constantgardener Active Member 10 Years

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    Rhodos also set flower buds last fall for this year's flowers. Look for fat-looking buds (these are bigger than the leaf buds) to see if your plant has "prepped" itself for more flowers this spring. If it only had flowers open at the bottom, it should have some buds higher up.
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    These only bloom a short time anyway, usually once per year. Impossible to pinpoint your situation without more information, but some possibilities (including what has been mentioned already) are that the sunny exposure cooked the flowers and may be bothering the plant, the roots are getting dried out (common with container stock in soilless potting media, the finer-textured soil in the new site having a greater attraction for water) and a second flush of growth was pushed by the grower after the flower buds were set on the lower part of the plant. If it was too late in the growing season for the upper part of the crown to set flower buds then you would see flowers only on the older growth lower down. Another thing I see occasionally is non-selective shearing of all kinds of shrubs, maybe the flower buds on the top of your plants were pruned off along with upper growth at the growers, the plant responding with re-growth that wasn't strong enough to set flower buds.

    Dwarf rhododendrons with small leaves are suitable for full sun here near the coast, but like all rhododendrons and azaleas do not succeed in hot soils baked by the sun. These need to be planted close together so that they shade one another, in a well-aerated, mulched soil. An ideal exposure is an open, north-facing slope where they get full light and do not have trees dropping litter into them, but do not get much direct sun (especially on the rooting area).

    Reflected heat is likely to melt the flowers of these even if the kind planted has sun-resistant leaves.
     
  5. arzin

    arzin Member

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    Thanks for all your responses. The tag that was on the plant said part-shade in the front but when I looked at it again yesterday, it says part-sun really small on the back. Very misleading. We will try to move the rhodo in the next week when it stops raining here. Does anyone recommend a flowering bush for an area that received afternoon/evening sun that I can put there when I move the rhodo?

    Thanks again!
     
  6. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    I like Heliotropium arborescens for that. It's really simple to grow and smells awesome.
     
  7. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    oh, yes, the heliotrope!! very, very, very pretty bush with really lovely fragrant flowers!! doesn't get all that large (4 feet or so). take a look at lorax' blog for pics of it.

    if you're looking for something that will get bigger, try sambucus - there are many types (newer offerings have purplish leaves and pink or white flowers) and they get a fair size (10 feet or so) which isn't too much. you'll have something interesting going with it all year long as it gets berries which will be on it through the winter.
     

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