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Trouble with new plants

Seattle, WA

Please help. By now I have basic gardening experience, but a different house. Things have not been going well. Not a single rhodie has bloomed in the almost five years since I planted them. Not enough sun (one of them sits next to an established one that blooms its head off!), planted too deep (how deep is too deep?), soil prep not adequate, lack of fertilizer???? I also created a new little Japanese garden a couple of years ago, and placed a few specimen plants in there before barking. I was basically trying to get rid of an old pile of rocks, stump, and weeds such as the very persistent mahonia (I know, not really a weed), blackberry, and buttercup.The only thing not threatening to die is the low-growing bamboo thing that I dug up elsewhere on the property. It hadn't been spreading due to the poor soil, but now it's happy. Should I be scared? This stuff is a variegated pale green and white, and only about 10"-12" tall. The real failures are the nandina, which hasn't grown even an inch, and the mugo pine, which gets browner by the day. Yes, I HAD dug all the bad stuff out, to the best of my ability, but the bindweed still loves it there, as does the mahonia. There is adequate sun, I believe, and water. Even the little native fern is being reluctant, but still lives.

Union, WA(Zone 8b)

I wouldn't fertilize but I would mulch everything with a good brand of compost. 3-4 inches deep just not up against the plants. If you can get dead leaves or grass clipping add that and dig it in around the plants. Or you could put everything back into pots until next spring after all that mulching has begun to help out.

This message was edited Jul 13, 2012 1:17 PM

Rose Lodge, OR(Zone 8b)

Can you post pix of the situations?

Seattle, WA

I'll get on it--not very good at that sort of thing, though. Thanks for trying to help. I bought two more pots yesterday, and may just dig up the nandina for now. At least the wee bamboo is happy! Hope I won't be complaining about that anytime soon.

Union, WA(Zone 8b)

Rhodies should be planted on a mound above the real ground level.

Seattle, WA

And how big does that mound need to be? Do you have an idea about how much shade is tolerated? I don't think any of mine are in DEEP shade.

Union, WA(Zone 8b)

Not more than 6" or so and then slope the soil out ot meet the real level. Most rhodies can take some sun. They like morning sun and afternoon shade or dappled shade. Mine didn't grow well in deep shade under fir trees. Yak rhodies can take full sun and so can 'Jean Marie".
This rhodie is 'Bow Belles' and was always in fun sun.

This message was edited Jul 23, 2012 3:30 PM

This message was edited Jul 23, 2012 3:31 PM

Thumbnail by Willowwind2
(Sharon)SouthPrairie, WA(Zone 7a)

But it is good to mulch their roots so they can retain as much water as possible.....

Union, WA(Zone 8b)

Yes, I put compost around mine. Water during bloom time is very important, but once established, they don't take much at other times.

Rose Lodge, OR(Zone 8b)

I have 50 or so rhodies in everything from shade to sun. The more sun they get the more they bloom.

Seattle, WA

Bow Belles is gorgeous, and so is your setting. Thanks!

Cedarhome, WA(Zone 8b)

Yes, very pretty. I have just written rhodies off my dance card. Not sure why I have such abysmal luck with them, but I do. I try to make a point of going down to the UW Arboretum in the spring to catch their rhodie show, and make do with admiring them from afar.

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