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.