The Q&A Archives: Rhododendron

Question: We live at a 5500 foot elevation and my rhododendron plants are doing beautifully and putting out new shoots but they do not bloom. Why and what do I need to do to get them to bloom?

Answer: There are only a few reasons for non-bloom in rhodies - too much or too little sunshine (requirements vary by species), pruning at the wrong time of year (rhodies produce flower buds in the summer for next spring's display), too much fertilizer (excess nitrogen produces lots of green growth at the expense of blooms), or soil that's too sweet (rhodies prefer soil on the acidic, or low end of the pH scale). If your rhodies have bloomed in the past but didn't bloom this year, perhaps an early or late frost damaged the flower buds. If your rhodies have never bloomed, they may not be getting the proper sun exposure, the soil pH is too high, or they've been overfed. Try considering and improving conditions listed above and your rhodies should bloom for you next spring. Best wishes with your rhodies!

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