Can this Rhododendron be saved

I purchased a 4ft Rhododendron from Costco for half-price thinking I might be able to get it healthy..it seems Costco did not water these plants and they looked it but I picked the best of the lot. I immeadiately gave it a huge drink then the next day transfered it to a larger container..after losening up the root ball somewhat,added quality commercial garden soil..anyway,it seems to be holding it's own and getting slightly better but am I doing enough,should I be deep watering it because of its condition..I know rodies don't like too much watering..is this the exception? My neighbor says to give it a big can of tomato juice for the acid? :)
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With moist well drained soil, never soppy, it'll probably be just fine. It might look crappy until next year but I've seen evergreen rhodies loose all their leaves from maltreatment, & they survived & looked great the following year after someone started watering them again.
It's not always the best idea to buy stressed plants, however, as they can bring diseases into the garden. Sometimes a maltreated rhody is failing because of a root rot fungus that could spread to other shrubs.
Soil is made acidic with compost & larger than average amounts of organic matter & by rainfall or artificially by a low-nitrogen slow-release evergreen fertilizer. Not by dumping tomato juice into it. Acidity/alkalinity regards a pH reading, not an ammendment with acid.
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The first time you water it you should actually soak it in a tub of water. I would even add a little horticultural wetting agent to the water the first time. The original root ball may be totally dried out inside and may sluff off water if watered from the top. Then it should never again be over-watered (kept too wet). It should be allowed to almost dry out between waterings. The roots need air and too much water will cause root rot. If the top has broken dormancy, you may cut back the new top growth and definitely remove any blooms or flower buds. This will conserve the strength for survival. Do not fertilize until it makes a comeback. You may sprinkle a little powdered sulfur on the soil to insure the soil's acidity. This is a relatively large plant. Keeping it in a pot has major risks. It would be best to plant it as soon as possible. Container plants need to have the pot shaded so the roots don't cook when exposed to the sun. They also need to have the roots spread out when repotted or planted. These large plants tend to be root bound.. When they get older, these roots will strangle each other and kill the plant unless they are straightened out now. If fact it is good idea to run a knife down all sides of the root mass to break up these circular root patterns. Also, plastic pots seal out air which is vital to the roots.
Actually you will be more fortunate if Costco didn't water the plants. More rhododendrons are killed by over watering than underwatering. Most of these large chain stores get good plants, then try to kill them with over-watering, setting in full sun on hot asphault, etc. The sooner you can buy them after they get them in the better off you are.
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Thanks for the excellent tips and advice,with this info I should be able to gain on this potentially beautiful Rhodie! It looks like it's slowly responding, some of the leaves were quite brittle..they now seem to be getting plyable again and losing some of the pea-green color shading back to the darker green. I'll check that root ball also with a probe and see if it's taking water.
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