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Rhododendron bush with purple flowers all over. The flowers in the front in focus.

Rhododendrons are difficult to grow in Michigan yet homeowners love their Rhodys. They prefer an acidic soil that also drains very well and yet most soil in southeast Michigan are clay and high Ph. Those who succeed are those who have amended their soil on a regular basis. For those who can not amend we can root feed them using organic seaweed kelp. The benefits associated with organic seaweed kelp include; Ph reduction, high Iron content, organic micro-organisms that work with the existing soil helping to break down clay soils by increasing earthworm activity.

Phytophora Root Rot is the biggest problem with Rhodys so it is extremely important to make sure the soil is well drained. Phytophora Root Rot eats away at the roots during the growing season leaving the plants vulnerable to harsh winters where the plants can not easily recoup in the spring. It is worth noting that most plants die coming out of the winter from Phytophora Root Rot damage versus during the growing season. Most winter injury is a direct result in how they were cared for before winter.

Black Vine Weevils love to attack this plant throughout the spring and summer months. Soil drenching with an insecticide at least twice per year is the best way to prevent damage especially since this insect feeds on both the roots and leaves.

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