patty bee has surprised me

I had moved the Patty Bee rhododendron out of my sunny garden into a shaded area under some large pine trees, also hoping the soil under there with all the pine needles that fall would be acidic enough to help this little rhody along. My original post about the browning of its leaves and wondering if the small shrub was dead is here. I decided just to move it and hope for the best. I noticed over the weekend that Patty Bee was starting to open its yellow buds. Before I moved the shrub there were no signs of any buds wanting to open, they had all looked dried up and as though none would be opening up this year. So, I am pleasantly surprised by the yellow flower buds that have appeared. I am so glad I didn’t just toss the plant.

I’m unsure what I should do after blooming. If I should prune the shrub right down to get rid of all the brown, crispy leaves and have the shrub grow back, hoping it will have nice healthy, green leaves, or if I should just cut a few of the more dead looking stems. The brown leaves fall off with the slightest touch. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


5 thoughts on “patty bee has surprised me

  1. I would tend towards the cautious option and just trim off the worst after flowering. My two rhododendrons have good and bad years, so I usually prune only every second year. Good luck!

  2. I’d be inclined to caution also. You could brush off all the brown leaves that come off easily hoping that will encourage new leaves to sprout. I’d also trim off any branches that are dead and crisp. Another option is to pinch tips of any branches that seem too long. Often removing leaf buds at the end of a branch forces dormant buds along the length to sprout.

  3. I would also be inclined towards caution. I’ve had similar experiences, and with minor pruning, I had a pretty dramatic turnaround (including adding pine needles).

  4. What a beautiful color. Rhody’s usually set next years flowers on this years growth. If you want to trim it, wait till it’s done flowering so it has time to re-grow it’s flowering tips. I would suggest only cutting the worst of the stems. Usually a few of the old branches, and at the ground. That will encourage growth from the roots. The good news is your plant will get bushier.

  5. The only way to get rid of the brown is to pull off the brown leaves. I probably wouldn’t do ANY cutting back…the new growth should hopefully hide the deadness. At any rate don’t do any cutting until the new growth hardens off this summer (but don’t wait toooooooo long).

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