The Q&A Archives: Rhododendron: New leaves, but no flowers.

Question: I have a large rhododendron that did not bloom this year. I deadheaded last year, taking special care not to damage the growing blooms. However, this year all the plant did was to produce buds that looked like they would flower but which only produced new leaves and no flowers. Why is this? And what should I do this year to ensure that it blooms next year? Thank you.

Answer: It could be weather related, or it could be that you did accidentally damage the flower buds when you snapped off the trusses. If you look carefully at your rhodie, especially later this summer, you'll be able to predict the number of flowers it is going to set next spring by looking closely at the buds it is developing. Thin, narrow buds are leaf buds; short, fat buds are flower buds. If your rhodie normally produces lots of flowers and this year did not set any, it's either weather related or a cultural problem (inconsistent soil moisture - enough to stress the plant - would be a reason for non-blooming). Hope this sheds some light on the subject!

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