Blooms - Knowledgebase Question

Westbrookville, Ne
Avatar for GrannyL
Question by GrannyL
August 27, 2010
I'm not sure that my first request went through. If this is a duplicate, please excuse it.
We bought property last summer that has a large section of rhododendren (appx. 10 ft across). They did not bloom this Spring and the neighbor said she only remembers them growing each year, but never blooming. What can I do to get blooms next Spring? Thank you.

Answer from NGA
August 27, 2010
Rhododendrons grow best in bright light and some will appreciate a few hours of morning sun. There are even some kinds that will tolerate full sunshine. It would be helpful to have yours identified so you can determine whether or not they are getting enough sun. The usual reason for non blooming is lack of adequate sun. About the only other reason for non blooming is pruning at the wrong time of year. Rhodies spend the summer months developing flower buds for the following year's floral display. If these buds are damaged by winter weather or if the plant is pruned at the wrong time, the potential for flowering will be lost. (Rhodies should be pruned immediately after they have finished flowering so they have all summer to develop flower buds). At this point, why not inspect the branches for signs of flower bud development? Leaf buds are long and skinny, flower buds are short and fat. If you find flower buds, watch them over the winter months to see if they survive. If they turn brown, it might be that the rhodies are planted in a low spot or a windy spot in the landscape. Aside from feeding once each spring with an acidified fertilizer such as one formulated for Rhododendrons and Azaleas, and pruning at the right time of the year, your rhodies only need adequate light levels to flower. Hope this information helps you determine just why your shrubs are not blooming.

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