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Home > Plant Care Guide > Species

Rhodora (Rhododendron canadense) Care Guide

Rhodora is a type of evergreen shrub that belongs to the Rhododendron genus. They are suitable for planting as a shrub flower border, and can also be planted in flower pots. They bloom in early spring with bright flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds, bringing vigor to the garden and laying a welcome mat for other living things early in the season. You can also collect their flowers for flower arrangements to decorate a room. They like slightly acidic soil and are relatively difficult to maintain. this plant is best suited to people with gardening experience who are ready for a challenge.

Quick Care Guides

  • What kind of soil do rhodora need?
  • How do I water rhodora?
  • What kind of light do rhodora need for their growth?
  • When to harvest the flowers of rhodora?

Condition Requirement

Water and Hardiness

Rhodora does not like to be too cold or too hot. It is suited to grow in an environment with a temperature of 12 - 25 ℃. When the temperature exceeds 30 ℃ or is lower than 5 ℃, the plants grow slowly and will enter dormancy. When the temperature is lower than 3 ℃, rhodora will suffer frost damage. They need a sufficient amount of slightly acidic water. They cannot sustain too much accumulated water.

Sunlight

Rhodora likes environments with partial shade and can be planted in places that are partially covered with shades. They can also grow in plentiful sunlight, but they need to be protected from intense sun exposure. It is recommended to shade off 75% of the sunlight in spring to prevent new leaves from becoming sunburnt.

Soil

Rhodora enjoys rich, loose, and slightly acidic soil. Because the plants do not like too much accumulated water, the soil must be well-drained. Leaf mold, pine needle mulch, peat soil, or fully decomposed groundwood are good choices. These are all acidic culture mediums with strong draining ability. Alkalic or sticky soil cannot be used.
These plants are suited to soil with a pH of 4.5-6. Before planting, it is best to test the pH level of your soil. If it is slightly alkalic, you can moderately add an acidic fertilizer like aluminum sulfate. Mix it with the original soil, and ensure the soil is within the suitable pH range before planting rhodora.

Care Guide

Planting

Rhodora is suited for planting in spring or fall. As a shrub, it takes a long time for the seeds to grow. Therefore, it is best to purchase seedlings or potted plants. If they are planted in the garden, make sure the distance between plants is 61 cm. Dig a planting pit with a diameter of three times that of the root ball of the rhodora. The roots cannot be buried too deeply, and the root crown should be level with the ground. When the planting pit is half-filled with soil, water it once. When filling is completed, water it again.

Water

It is best to use rainwater or snow water to water rhodora. Do not use alkalic water or tap water. There are many ions in tap water that can worsen soil permeability and ventilation. Purchase some pH test strips to test the water at your house. If it is slightly alkalic, add a little white vinegar.
When growing vigorously, give rhodora plenty of water. In winter, water them less. At the end of winter when temperatures rise, rhodora is ready to grow, so increase watering frequency. In summer, the soil tends to dry easily, so water plants often and spray water onto their leaves. During summer, water rhodora in the early morning. In winter, water plants before noon. During spring and fall, water plants any time other than noon. Reduce watering frequency during rainy seasons to avoid waterlogging.

Fertilizer

When planting rhodora, base fertilizer can ensure better results. When plants are growing vigorously, apply water-soluble fertilizers once every month. Before blooming, apply phosphate fertilizer to make the flowers larger, their color brighter, and the flowering time longer. Apply fertilizer once every 10 days, 2-3 times. After blooming, use nitrogen fertilizer to promote leaf growth. Fertilizer needs to be applied in small amounts multiple times in the evenings of sunny days. Make sure the soil is dry when applying the fertilizer, then water the plant the next day. Stop fertilizing in high-temperature seasons and during hibernation in winter.

Pruning

Prune rhodora after its flowers wither. Promptly prune old, dry branches or ones with diseases to ensure healthy growth. If there are branches that are too long, with excessive growth or curve, they can be cut off as well to create better shapes.

Harvest

Collect the flowers of rhodora for cut flowers, focusing on ones that have not yet fully bloomed. These flowers are both more beautiful and can be enjoyed for a longer period of time. Use a sharp knife to cut the bottom of the branch diagonally; this increases the area where the cut flower can absorb water. To extend bottle life, do not let the flowers receive direct sunlight. Change the water frequently and cut the bottom of the cut flower obliquely when changing water.

Common Problems

Why does my rhodora hardly bloom?

There are many reasons why rhodora may underwhelmingly bloom. Sunlight, for one, has a strong impact on blooming. Environments with strong direct sunlight or that are too shady can both cause a failure to bloom. Rhodora is suited to survive winter environments with temperatures of around 8 ℃. If the temperature is too high, rhodora cannot enter its dormancy and will consume a large amount of energy, affecting blooming the following year. In addition to these possible problems, littleleaf disease can also prevent blooming in rhodora.

Why do the new leaves of rhodora turn yellow?

this can be caused by inappropriate watering or a lack of iron. If too much water accumulates in the soil for a long time, new leaves of the rhodora can turn yellow. If the rhodora lacks water when new leaves are growing, this can also cause leaves to curl up and turn yellow. It is best to decide whether to water the plant based on how dry the soil is. A lack of iron for the rhodora can affect chlorophyll synthesis, which also leads to new leaves turning whitish-yellow.

Why do rhodora leaves fall?

Leaves falling from rhodora can be caused by a lack of air circulation. In this case, prune the plant a little to ensure air circulation in the inner part of the plant. As for potted plants, it is best to open a nearby window for ventilation.

Pests and Diseases

Leaf Spot

Leaf spot is a common rhodora disease. In the early stages, the leaves will have brownish-red, small dots. These expand into irregular lesions with a dark brown center and eventually turn grey-white. If serious, the leaves turn yellow and fall. If detected, promptly clean the leaves. In summer, ensure the plant has space for air circulation and prevent the soil from being too moist. If rhodora is infected with leaf spot disease, it is necessary to cut off the leaves that are infected and spray fungicide on the plant.

Gray Mold

Grey molds are usually caused by low temperatures and moist environments. In the early stages, rhodora petals will have small dots. These then expand into spots that connect with each other. To prevent grey mold from happening, avoid temperatures that are too low and can cause frost damage. Additionally, pay attention to air circulation, and keep the air and the soil from becoming too moist. If rhodora is infected with grey mold, promptly trim off infected flowers and leaves and spray fungicide on the plant.

Root Rot

In the early stages of root rot, there will be dark spots that look like water stains at the rhodora root. Then, the root rots and the skin of the root comes off, while the bark turns whiteish grey. Later, the color expands to the whole plant or even causes the death of the plant. To prevent root rot from happening, use soil that drains well to prevent water accumulation at the root. If the rhodora has root rot, spray fungicide on the plant until it recovers.

Chlorosis

If rhodora is infected with chlorosis, its leaves will turn mostly yellow while the veins of the leaves are still green, causing the leaves to have green-colored, grid-shaped patterns. Infected leaves will start to dry from their edges, then fall off. If the infection is serious, rhodora will die. In the case of chlorosis, replace old soil with newer, slightly acidic soil. In the early stages of the disease, spray chemicals with iron elements onto the leaves of the plant.

Spider Mites

Spider mites are usually active collectively at the back of the plant. If rhodora is affected by spider mites, the leaves will have whiteish grey spots. In spring, watch for spider mites on the plant. If a small number of spider mites is spotted, immediately remove affected leaves. If an infestation is more serious, spray mite killer on the rhodora.

Other Uncommon Pests or Diseases

Moreover, there are some less common pests and diseases listed below that need your attention
  • Sooty Mold
  • Powdery Mildew
  • Little Leaf Disease
  • Leaf Gall
  • Lace Bugs
Rhodora (Rhododendron canadense) Rhodora (Rhododendron canadense)

Scientific Classification

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