I ordered a rhododendron online. I plan to grow it indoors on coco coir and General Hydroponics nutrient solutions. The plant is fully budded without flowers and also has green leaves. Unfortunately, it spent 5 days in a row inside a delivery truck with the average temp about 34°F and a few nights around 28. Now the leaves are kind of brittle and the buds are browned on the top. If/when the leaves start dropping, is my plant dead? Could the cold temps have prematurely brought the plant into hibernation? What if the leaves stay and the buds die without flowering? Bonus points for knowing how many cold hours a rhodoenter image description heredendron needs to have to flower each year, but I can ask a separate question for that.

Edit: Here's more info. I answered the chill time part.

RHODODENDRON PURPLE PASSION Blueberry Glaze is an interspecific hybrid, mid-chill ornamental variety that with an estimated chilling requirement of 600 hours and cold hardiness limit of Zone 5. (I live in zone 5A)

  • which variety of rhododendron is it?
    – Bamboo
    Apr 1 '20 at 22:47
  • 1
    As Bamboo's comment implies, some rhododendrons and azaleas are frost hardy down to minus 30 F. However very few have frost resistant flowers or flower buds. So we need to know the species to answer your question.
    – alephzero
    Apr 1 '20 at 23:29

Unfortunately, your rhododendron is not at all suited to being grown indoors - it will be much happier outside. It will need acidic soil conditions, so in a pot, use ericaceous or acid potting soil. If you are able to put it outdoors, you will need to harden it off over a week or so (assuming its been inside since you got it).

The rhododendron which will grow indoors is a tender variety called Rhododendron simsii - these used to be called azaleas. They have much smaller leaves than other rhododendron varieties.

  • I appreciate your opinion. Many have instinctual distaste for hydroponic gardening. 1200W light source, CO2 enrichment, pH and ppm control, balanced nutrition for any part of the life cycle as well as humic acid, silicates, and temperature control. Things grow like it's Hawaii. I also have lemons, blueberries, strawberries, grapes, bananas (although they prefer a much higher temperature), peaches, tangerines, and lilies. If you've never used coco coir or clay pellets - check it out. Pest free, rodent free, ridiculous root development, etc.
    – Stu W
    Apr 2 '20 at 17:14
  • Also, the water is RO (0 PPM). I gave you a +1 for your time, but you didn't answer the question.
    – Stu W
    Apr 2 '20 at 19:00
  • Hydroponics gardening is fine, but you can't grow rhododendrons like this hydroponically! Note the people, to get an idea of the scale of the plants. And this garden is in the north of England, not Hawaii. youtube.com/watch?v=cVuezDLNI8M
    – alephzero
    Apr 2 '20 at 19:07
  • @StuW - you can't grow it indoors full stop, whatever growing method you use - it's a large woody shrub that like outdoor temperatures and conditions,they are not indoor plants, that;'s why I didn't talk about the method of growing. The fact its indoors precludes/over-rides all those queries.... But its up to you if you want to try.
    – Bamboo
    Apr 2 '20 at 20:23
  • Then I call you a bigot, sir. 115k? You should be ashamed of yourself. 1) You still haven't answered the question; 2) Do any of my plants belong indoors? No! But I live in an apartment. I'm on my 3rd round of lemons--they thrive; 3) I didn't even tell you about deep water systems - when you pull the bowl containing your plant and clay pellets (for support), the roots coming up look like perfectly cooked angel hair pasta, a full box of it. So whatever.
    – Stu W
    Apr 3 '20 at 0:38

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