The Q&A Archives: why won't this plant bloom?

Question: We have a rhododendron that refuses to bloom. Last year it finally had one bloom and this year it has two. What is it needing?

Answer: Most rhodies will grow in bright shade, but some early morning sunshine can be beneficial. Non-blooming could be weather related (the flower buds froze, not enough sunshine), or it could be that you are pruning at the wrong time or you accidentally damage the flower buds when you snap off the spent trusses. If you look carefully at your rhodie, especially later this summer, you will 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 is not producing flower buds, it may be that it needs more sunshine, or that there is inconsistent soil moisture. Be sure to water your rhodie deeply once each week during the entire growing season. Hope this sheds some light on the subject!

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