Q.Why is rhododendron spindly?
I have a rhododendron that gets no full sun at any time during the day. (The large majority of my property is in shade all day). The rhodo is alive and growing well with much new growth at the tips of long spindly branches. The plant has been in the ground about 10 years. It is about 6 feet height, 5 foot spread; it has never bloomed. I noticed that many leaves are yellow and come off at a touch. Other leaves are green with brown spots, some with edges that appear to be burned. I cleaned out many-years accumulation of leaves from around the plant. I think my problem is total lack of sun and that I should prune it way back and transplant it to a location that receives maybe 4 hours of sun. What should I do to help my rhodo?
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Rhododendrons need acid-rich soil, fertilizer, and pruning at the proper time. Yellowing leaves can be a sign of too much fertilizer, too little light, or not enough acidity. Since yours is spindly, it could be the lack of light for non-blooming.
If you have an area with dappled shade or morning sun, that should be enough light to induce bloom if the other conditions are being met, i.e., fertilizing and acid-rich soil. Also, rhodos don't like wet feet, so the area should be well-drained. Read below on how to prune before transplanting.
Here is everything you ever wanted to know on rhododendrons. Good luck!