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Why has my Rhododendron got drooping leaves
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Rhododendrons are beautiful plants that come in the form of evergreen shrubs and trees with variable height and spread. There are literally hundreds of varieties from small dwarf varieties to extremely large types. Strong and adaptable, they flower mainly in the spring so long as they are planted in acidic soil with the right amount of water.
That said there are still some problems you might notice with your Rhododendron after planting and even on established bushes. One of the most common problems we see a lot is the leaves on Rhododendrons starting to wilt. The most common cause is usually drought or cold weather but they usually recover once conditions are ideal again. Below we go other some of the other reasons you might have this problem with the leaves on your Rhododendron starting to droop and wilt.
The first thing you might have noticed is that your Rhododendron seems to be wilting. If the leaves on your plant have started to wilt or droop it could be indicative of a problem with the weather. Being a fairly strong shrub or tree, most of the time the reasons your leaves droop is simply because of severe cold, this is especially true for plants grown in pots. So if they start to drop in the winter time, rest assured that once mild weather returns, so will your leaves.
Is your Rhododendron Losing Leaves
When it should happen
Things could be a bit more severe and perhaps you noticed that your Rhododendron is losing leaves. Firstly if you have a rhododendron that is an evergreen shrub, the older leaves will naturally shed during the Spring and Summer. This is something to be expected every year and is a normal process. The entire plant won’t shed but a small proportion of your foliage will. There is no need to be alarmed if you see this happening at the appropriate time, the rest of the plant usually looks healthy.
Leaves drooping and dropping due to draught
After experiencing drought when we have had long periods without rain, I know it doesn’t happen too much in the UK, your Rhododendron might start losing leaves, as a result, starting with the oldest leaves first. This type of leaf drop is something you will likely know is coming because the leaves will start to droop and roll or curl along the edges before falling. Being cognizant of the weather or the watering schedule can help you determine if your Rhododendron is losing leaves because of this. You might also notice that the leaves along the top of the Rhododendron have started to brown along the edges which is another sign.
If you are not experiencing a drought and in fact the opposite is true it can still lead to leave drop. When your Rhododendron experiences waterlogging for some length of time, it can damage the roots and cause the leaves to droop and eventually drop. Rhododendrons thrive best in areas that receive high amounts of rainfall and don’t like being dry. However, if you don’t have adequate drainage that extra rainfall during the winter months or even during the springtime could result in water logging so always check that the drainage is sufficient.
Pest – Vine Weevil
One last reason you may have dropping leaves is because of vine weevil beetles and their grubs, this is more of a problem for plants that are grown in pots. Although adult vine weevil eats the leaves, usually around the edge of the leaves, it is the baby grubs that live in the soil and look similar to a maggot that causes the most damage as they eat the roots. Eventually, causing enough damage that the root system cannot support the plant and the first sign is usually the leaves start to droop. You can buy pesticides especially for vine weevil and it can be applied as a drench to the soil.
Rest assured the most of the time if you see problems with the leaves on your Rhododendron drooping, wilting, or falling off, it is not cause for serious concern and something that the plant can easily bounce back from. During the spring and summer during periods of low rainfall, it can be a good idea just to water as needed to ensure they have enough water.