The Q&A Archives: Azalea and Rhododendron will not bloom.

Question: Hi. I recently purchased a classic rhododendron and a congo azalea <sp> when they were tiny bushes. I am a container gardener, therefore I have put them in appropriate size pots. My bushes are growing lots of new leaves, however, they have not produced any blooms. I have seen other bushes that are full of blooms and are of the same size as my plants. Any suggestions on how to get it to bloom? Additionally, I had read that mulch is good for both of these bushes, is that correct?

Thank you, Berrywrap Zone 6

Answer: Non-blooming in azaleas and rhododendrons is usually a result of plant immaturity (not size, but age), pruning at the wrong time, lack of enough sunlight or too much nitrogen fertilizer. Maturity has more to do with age, not size so a plant approximately the size of yours does not necessarily mean it is the same age - plants grow at different rates. Both rhodies and azaleas produce flower buds in the summer for the following spring's floral display. Pruning in late summer or during the winter months will affect blooming. Your plants may need more sunlight than they are currently receiving - a few hours of morning sun will help them bloom. Too much nitrogen will result in green growth, but at the expense of flowers. Both rhodies and azaleas prefer acidic soil. If they are in containers and you use potting soil, it should be acidic enough; lightly fertilizing with an acidic plant food will also ensure they get the acidity they like. Mulching over the roots of your plants (planted in the ground) will help the soil retain moisture. In containers, it isn't necessary.

Hope this information gives you enough clues to determine why your plants are not blooming.

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