The Q&A Archives: Rhododendron blues

Question: Four years ago I planted a small rhodo in my gargen which bloomed the following season. But last year it had no buds and it didn't bloom at all. This year, i noticed what appears to be very small buds that I know are not big enough to bring forth flowers. The plant itself looks very healthy and seems to be in a good area, close to my azaelias which are now coming into a lovely bloom. Help!

Answer: It sounds as though your rhodies do not like where they are planted. Some grow best in shade, others need some sunshine. Without the proper exposure, they won't flower. Rhodies like acidic soil - if you are feeding them with the same fertilizer as you are feeding the azaleas, they should grow well, but without the proper amount of sunshine, they simply will not flower. You can tell flower buds from leaf buds by their shapes: leaf buds are narrow and pointed; flower buds are short and fat. If your rhodies do not develop flower buds this summer for next spring's display, you really need to consider moving them to a better spot - whether that means more sun or more shade depends upon the cultivar.

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