Arrow
Newly Registered
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Jul 06, 2006 9:59 pm
Location: San Jose, CA

Rhododendrons

Hi,

I've purchased a 5gallon rhododendron about 2 years back (forgot the name now but searched high and low for that specific species..flower is supposed to be white in the center and hot pink on the edge) and planted at the side of the house under a willow tree so it gets plenty of shade. The plant is very healthy except it doesn't flower!!! For 2 consecutive years, it produces the buds but will blossom into leaves instead of flower. I've reasoned that it was adjusting on the first year but cannot excuse it this year. Did I neglect to supplement it during planting? I used supersoil potting mix and/or steer manure. We're in San Jose, CA (I think that's zone 9a?) and we get plenty of clay soil here.

Thanks in advance for your input.

Arrow
Newly Registered
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Jul 06, 2006 9:59 pm
Location: San Jose, CA

found the name.....Lem's Monarch.
Thanks.

Newt
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1868
Joined: Wed May 26, 2004 2:44 am
Location: Maryland zone 7

Hi Arrow,

When you planted your rhodo and amended the soil with potting mix, it wasn't the best to use. Potting mix contains peat, and once dry, it's difficult to rewet. Peat also doesn't contain alot of nutrients. I also have some concerns about it being under the willow tree, which could rob the mosture and nutrients with it's large and hungry root system. You may need to topdress with an inch of compost and water with compost tea to encourage blooms.

If your plant was b&b it may have had some roots severed when it was dug in the nursery. These are shallow rooted plants and if some of the roots were damaged it may take some time for the plant to get established before it blooms. Here's some growing and planting info to see if all that fits.
https://www.rhododendron.org/transplant.htm
https://www.rhododendrons.co.uk/cultural_notes.htm
https://gardening.wsu.edu/text/faqorna.htm#rhododendron

Info about your cultivar:
https://www.rhododendron.org/descriptionH_new.asp?ID=945
https://www.paghat.com/pinkwalloper.html

Newt

Arrow
Newly Registered
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Jul 06, 2006 9:59 pm
Location: San Jose, CA

Thanks, Newt, for your reply.

Is there a compost brand that you'd recommend? I can search my local Home Depot for acidic compost...will that do? What's compost tea? Is that just water mixed with compost or an actual product? Please excuse my ignorance...I'm just a supersoil person...and I really do supersoil everything. :)

About the willow tree. It's a 30'-40' tree in the neighboring yard...my rhodi is about 20'-25' from its base but it's big and healthy (very dark green leaves). I have planted some other Home Depot Rhodi also in the near vicinity. It's a cheaper, weaker, yellow spotted leaves plants...but it's flowering every year. It's spotted because it got sun burnt. The only visible difference is the Home Depot plants face North and is NOT under the Willow tree where my Lem's Monarch faces South and shaded by the willow tree. Would the direction makes a difference? The plant that attracted my attention from a neighbor's yard was also planted facing North.

I'm going to try to supplement it with compost this year then wait and see. If it doesn't bloom again next year, I'll have to relocate it.

Thanks.

Newt
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1868
Joined: Wed May 26, 2004 2:44 am
Location: Maryland zone 7

Arrow, you are so very welcome! The best compost is what you make in your own garden, then you know what is in it. Since I don't have a large enough garden to have more then a small compost pile, I purchase mine from places like Home Depot or Lowe's. When we totally relandscaped the yard, cutting down 5 trees and digging out the stumps, I had compost delivered in bulk as it was less expensive. So if you can't make your own, the bagged will do.

You are correct about the compost tea. It's compost in water, but with a few extra steps that insure there are good microbes in it. Here's the basics for this wonderful stuff that also helps plants to keep bugs and diseases away when used as a foliar spray. This site has an [url=https://www.soilfoodweb.com/03_about_us/approach_pgs/c_01_understand_why.html]involved explanation[/url].


Supersoil? Here's their garden soil. It sounds like it's totally organic so it could be used as the compost. I'll bet it's more expensive then off brand compost though.
https://www.supersoil.com/products/supersoil/garden_soil.shtml

As to the north or south exposure of your rhodies, the winter winds will dry them, so the combination of how much sun, what time of the day and the drying winds will make the difference. Here in Maryland, northerly winds in the winter are cold and usually dryer then the southerly and or wind from the east. The wind from the east comes off the ocean and is wetter and generally warmer. Morning sun for Rhodies is better then the hotter afternoon sun. The yellow leaves tell me the soil is lacking in nutrients. The spots could be bacterial or fungal. Weak plants are more prone to insect and disease problems, even though it's blooming. Here's some [url=https://www.rhododendron.org/plantcare.htm]rhodo[/url] [url=https://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/3000/3043.html]growing info[/url].

Btw, is this willow a weeping willow? They have huge root systems. Actually many willows have huge root systems and really drink up the water. As the tree grows [url=https://www.ext.nodak.edu/extnews/hortiscope/tree/willow.htm]the roots extend BEYOND the drip line[/url] (outer edges of the crown and leaves). [url=https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/MG/MG08900.pdf]Take a look here[/url] at this PDF.

If you aren't sure which [url=https://www.slimwetwillows.co.uk/willow_tree_varieties.htm]willow it is you can look here[/url].


Newt

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