The Q&A Archives: Rhodadendren

Question: My son-in-law has a rhodadendren that gets what looks to be flowre buds but when they open they are just new leaves. What can he do to get it to bloom?

Answer: Most blooming problems in rhododendrons are related to either lack of sunlight, poor growing conditions, or incorrect pruning. Any pruning should be done only in late spring immediately after the plant blooms. The plant should be sited in partial to full sun in a location out of wind. The soil should be acid, have a high humus content, and be kept evenly moist but not sopping wet. To help the soil stay moist, keep several inches of an organic mulch such as shredded bark or pine needles over the root zone year round. Water as needed during the summer to keep the soil moist. Finally, the plants are shallow rooted and so the soil around them should not be disturbed by digging. I hope there are some blooms next year!

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