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My poor Rhododendron

Iv'e had this rhododendron for at least 10 years and planted it in it's present location from a pot about 5 years ago. It's appeared very happy and given me prolific flowerings of gorgeous carmine flowers. But look at the picture, now it looks as if half is ok and the other dying. I haven't yet fed it this spring but it's had rhododendron and camellia feed regularly in the past. Please can anyone give me advice... and hope.




  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,025

    I know it seems a strange thing to say after the winter we've had, but apart from anything else, it looks thirsty to me.  We're on free-draining loam and our soil has dried out very quickly.  

    Check the soil and if it's dry give it a thorough soaking - several buckets full!  


    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • lilly3lilly3 Posts: 52
    I'd thought the same thing Dove, but the soil seems fairly wet. We're on clay here so it doesn't dry out to quickly. Wouldn't the whole plant be affected as well?
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,025

    My thinking was that the newer growth is softer and more likely to wilt and go floppy if short of water.

    However, it would seem that's not the problem ...............  can you check the stems thoroughly and see if there's any damage?

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,025

    I don't grow rhodos (wrong sort of soil) so not my specialist subject, but I've been googling - unhappily this article on phytophthora looks as if it might shed some light image

    Don't know what others think?

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 53,924

    In my experience, rhodos cope well with drier soil when they're well established shrubs, which this one seems to be. Although we get high rainfall here, often the ground directly under them is quite dry because the water doesn't get through the foliage. I've inherited  one which is by the front door and in the lee of the house wall. It's in great condition and is really quite dry underneath.

    It looks more like disease rather than lack of, or too much water I'm afraid. image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Lion SLion S Posts: 263

    Oh dear, that does indeed look like Phytophthora, with the wilting and the brown leaf spots that seem to be developing as well. The most probable cause is poor drainage of the clay soil. This advice below might also be helpful. 


  • lilly3lilly3 Posts: 52
    Well thanks to you all for the advice. I'm really depressed now, it looks like I have this dreadful fungus and I'll loose my cherished rhododendron. It's going to leave a whopping gap in the border. Almost certainly this awful wet winter has been the cause.
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