Rhododendrons - Knowledgebase Question

Portsmouth, Rh
Question by walkar
May 25, 2010
We live in Portsmouth, RI and have been surprised that many of our rhododendrons have not bloomed this year or they just have a bloom or two. There are lots of green leaf shoots but very few blooms. Any thoughts?

Answer from NGA
May 25, 2010


How perplexing -- and disappointing. Rrhododendrons are very cold hardy and heat resistant and usually reliable bloomers. If they experienced drought last year, it could reduce the formation of buds due to stress, but most plants usually manage 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. Best wishes with your rhodies.

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