Nova Zembla Rhododendron Did Not Bloom This Year - Knowledgebase Question

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Question by fyr051
June 4, 2002
This year our Nova Zembla did not bloom. It has plenty of new leaf growth for next year, but not one bloom.

I am in Zone 6 and I think it would have bloomed by now. There is no sign of a bud.

What could have made this happen? Or is it normal for it to skip a season of bloom?

Help.


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Answer from NGA
June 4, 2002

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How perplexing -- and disappointing. This rhododendron is very cold hardy and heat resistant and usually a reliable bloomer. The drought we experienced last year could have reduced the formation of buds due to stress, but most plants seem to have managed to set some buds regardless.

The most common reason for no blooms at all is pruning at the wrong season. These plants bloom on wood that grew the previous summer, so if you pruned in mid to late summer, last fall, winter, or earlier this spring you would have removed the blooming wood/flower buds for this year. The only time rhododendrons should be cut back is immediately following blooming within a week or two of when the blooms fade. If the lack of bloom was caused by pruning, things should be back to normal next year, assuming ill-timed pruning is avoided.

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