Rhododendron Bloom Report: June 18, 2020

Hi Folks,
Thursday June 18th, 2020 It is hot out there, eh? And dry, too. On the lowest sections of the Rhododendron trail the temperature is perhaps 3-4 degrees cooler than the parking lot. As you can see in the picture below, the youngest leaves are drooping a bit. But during the summer here in SW New England we often see dry spells interspersed by thunderstorms, so no worries yet, but if the older leaves were to curl up like they do in the winter (so as to conserve moisture), then we will take a closer look.

As is normal, the hybrid rhododendron are in full display in landscaped gardens and front yards. However, Rhododendron maximus, a native species, blooms during the middle of July. Again, as you can see in the pictures below, the flower buds are still pretty tight. They are just beginning to expand, and will probably be right on schedule. Whose schedule is the question. Their own, of course. Plan on mid-July.

The mosquitos are no longer swarming at he grove, but they are there, and they will find you, so be prepared.

Young leaves wilting in the hot dry weather.
Thicket as seen from the trail
The three kinds of growth to look for: last year’s flower husk (upper left), this year’s flower buds (center), this year’s leafy growth (right)
Ironically, too much sunlight on this plant (that evolved in the shade) can make two things happen-not only will it damage the leaves, but it can make more flowers. To see this, go all the way to the bridge where there is direct sunlight.
New growth-you will see lots this year. Perhaps because the grove needs a rest from last year’s amazing show, there aren’t as many flower buds this year.

Ted Lenk

Ted Lenk is an NH State Park Volunteer who checks in regularly at Rhododendron State Park.

One thought to “Rhododendron Bloom Report: June 18, 2020”

  1. Hi
    I wonder if you can tell me the type of rhododendrons these are? I inherited one and no one has been able to give me much information about it and mine isn’t looking very good lately. Do they require sun/shade? None of our local nurseries have been of much help. I hope to rescue it before it’s too late. It gets a lot of sun which may be harming it.

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