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why is my rhododendron so sad?

(7 Posts)
rainbowpony Fri 27-May-16 09:14:48

Planted in late March. It doesn't get any direct sunlight but it's not in the death corner - some dappled light during the day.

Did I get this wrong? Do they actually need more light? It's well drained.

Leaves look horrendous. Looking at the pic again there is new growth but it just looks unloved.

Are slug pellets the way forward to keep the nuggets off it, or frowned upon?

rainbowpony Fri 27-May-16 09:20:12

*buggers not nuggets

Sage is looking equally chewed and sad

shovetheholly Fri 27-May-16 10:15:25

OK, a couple of things.

The vast majority of rhodos like acid soil. That means they need to live in ericaceous compost if you have a soil pH above 6 or so. Get it out and whack it in a pot if you have neutral or alkaline soil.

Secondly, I'm looking at your lovely rich-looking earth and wondering whether there is a drainage issue. Hard to tell because it's been really wet in a lot of places these last couple of days, and any soil looks soggy after heavy rain. But I think I can see bits of moss on top of the soil towards the back? In which case, digging in a bit of grit may help.

Sage is a pretty tough old thing - I've had one in a deep, dank, dark, windy north-facing part of my garden and it has grown like billyo. But ideally it is supposed to like sun and free drainage. Like any other plant, it'll die if given too little or too much water.

bookbook Fri 27-May-16 13:13:52

The rhododendron looks to me as if the frost has got the leaves, that or wind. They are not looking as if its the wrong soil to me. Did you buy it at a nursery/garden centre from indoors, and plant it directly outside? The new leaves are looking as if its happy and settling to me . I would just keep an eye on it, and if the new leaves keep doing that further on in the year, then maybe there is a problem.
Sage will soldier on regardless!

rainbowpony Fri 27-May-16 17:48:34

Thank you, both. It was from a pot via crocus.co.uk and in great shape when it arrived. It may have suffered from the frost but it's quite a sheltered spot so unluckily wind-battered. I'm desperate to have this grown into something large and splendid like I have on the other side of the garden. Years and patience required!

I've invested in a new toy to test my soil pH and I'm going to take a closer look re moss/drainage in case I've mis-judged that one.

I am buoyed by the new growth but sad to see it so ropey! I'm quite keen on the watering but maybe I've been over keen - I hate to think they get thirsty!!

Kr1stina Fri 27-May-16 18:08:06

Did you harden it off before you planted it outside ? Because it woudl have been grown inside and have soft new foliage which could have been nipped by all the cold weather in April .

Ferguson Fri 27-May-16 20:09:43

Assuming the new growth continues to flourish, when the flowers have all finished, and died back, I always break off the little seed pods, so the plant doesn't waste energy making proper seeds.

They should 'snap' off if you bend them backwards and forwards a couple of times; different varieties of Rhododendron and Azaleas perform in different ways, some 'dead head' very easily, others don't.

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