Flowering from spring to summer rhododendron season is a spectacular time in hardens across the UK. Unless of course you are have problems.
Issues such as plants not flowering are generally few and far between, however lets look at a few areas of concern.
- Poor drainage
- Lack of nutrients
- Alkaline soil - see specific solutions
Spots on the leaves
- Pale patches are usually mildew
- Brown patches can be rust - fungicides may be appropriate
Flowers buds not forming.
A dry late summer and spring can inhibit flower buds forming, it is not a common problem however it is worth watching out for. Usually good soil and a well mulched garden will overcome this.
Soil ph incorrect
Remember that Rhododendrons prefer a slightly acidic soil, around ph 5.5, alkaline soils will not suit, they draw nutrients from the acidic soils more efficiently and will eventually die in alkaline soils.
These are a plant with a fine and fairly shallow root system, plant in a well drained soil and mulch. In the UK garden Rhododendrons should need very little extra water if planted in good conditions.
In containers you must ensure that the drainage is excellent, holes can block up and cause the whole pot to become waterlogged, the roots suffocate and rot. Use pot feet to lift the container off any flat surface, including the pot saucer.
- Poor flowering
Often caused by plants being in shade that is to deep, dappled shade not deep shade. Try lifting the tree canopy to let more light in.
- Pale foliage
Unusual but caused by lack of fertiliser, its called chlorosis, and is more common in container grown plants that are neglected.
- Scale Insects
These are sap sucking insects that live on the underside of the leaves.
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