rhododendron blooming [and one dead?]

I just love rhododendrons and azaleas in bloom. Their stunning flowers in a rainbow of colours are very much welcomed in early spring. They remind me of little girls dresses or tutus dancing about the leaves. I have two rhododendrons – one is a PJM compacta and the other is Patty Bee. Both stay small in height at around 2 feet. My compacta is starting to bloom and has a lovely purple-pink tutu, I mean colour. It was planted last fall so this is the first time seeing it in bloom.

Then there is Patty Bee… she looks likes she was seriously lacking moisture now that I really look at the picture. I have been out watering a few times since the ground has thawed, but the leaves were already brown at that point.

This browning colour started around January/February. I’m pretty sure the shrub is dead. The buds don’t show any signs of opening soon and the leaves are very crispy. I’m not sure if I should dig it up or if I should get some rhododendron food and try to nurse it back to health ? If that’s even possible that this point. I was looking forward to seeing the creamy lemon blooms this year.
When I planted these rhododendrons I was a little worried about the fact that they perform best when they live in acidic soil which I do not have for these gardens. Last fall I tried mulching them with pine needles hoping that would provide enough acidity for them, but I think that takes a few years before it does anything to the soil and needs to be replenished every so often. Plus, I have these shrubs in a garden that is open which means they get the wind and a lot of sun. This past winter probably didn’t help things either.

Anyhoo, I believe Patty Bee has died on me. If anyone has any knowledge on these shrubs I’d love to hear what you think before I dig it out of the garden.

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9 thoughts on “rhododendron blooming [and one dead?]

  1. Is it the only one you have of that cultivar? Tip to acidify: after drying, sprinkle coffee grounds about the plant. Cut back the dead stems and transplant it to a cool shady spot. These shallow rooted plants do not like drying out, or sun. They don’t much like our heat down here, either, but there isn’t much to be done about that.

    • Yes, that’s the only one. Thanks for the tip about the coffee grounds. I have heard that before but always forget about it. We drink a lot of coffee so I’ll be keeping the grounds from now on. I will look for a new spot to move this plant to.

  2. I forever mix up “azalea” and “rhododendron”. I’ve got 2 just like your top photo, but I’ve been calling them “azaleas” for ever! Why didn’t they teach us these things in school? 🙂

    Good luck with your Patty Bee!

    • I honestly can’t tell the two plants apart if they were side by side, but azaleas are of the genus rhododendron. I don’t know much about their differences.

  3. The same happened to an azalea I had, which unfortunately died completely. 😦 I think it didn’t have time to get established in the autumn before winter set in. I probably didn’t water it enough! I would suggest a good mulch after replanting to keep its roots moist.

    • Thank you ! I will look through the info on the link. I would like to know what happened, and definitely if it is contagious, thanks for the help.

  4. Pingback: patty bee has surprised me | Gardening in the Lines

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