What's wrong with my Rhodie flower buds in this picture?

pappu(z5 IL)April 26, 2005

My 4 Rhodies had nice fat flower buds with sorrounding leaf buds. The leaf buds are fully leafing out and there is no sign of activity in the flower buds. This is my first year of growing them(planted them last spring)...is this normal? Should I just wait for the flower buds to develop, maybe apply some bloom booster fertilizer? Please advise...


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sonny300(z8 B.C.)

That looks just fine..The nice plump bud will flower this year. and the elongated shoots are putting out new leaves.After flowering, new buds will begin to appear.

No worries, looks fine to me..

Ps...Don`t forget to deadhead after flowering..

    Bookmark   April 26, 2005 at 6:41PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

I can't say I've seen that, and I took a walk around the neighborhood to check if there were any nearby doing the same...the flowers should open before the foliage buds on any that I've grown. Any that I've personally seen.

Maybe someone else here will have some insight into your plant, in the meantime I'll see what I can find about foliage preceding flower....Do the buds look as though they are showing some color and are going to open, or are they completely stalled?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2005 at 8:23PM
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pappu(z5 IL)

The flower buds show no activity...they look healthy and green, but not the slightest bit of change or any hint of unfurling or budding out....This is the same with all 6 plants. The leaf buds are going gangbusters!Do the late flowering Rhodies do this?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2005 at 9:36PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

I rec'd this response for you from Library Hort., Univ. WA just today...

Though we canÂt diagnose plant problems by phone/email, early autumn frosts can inhibit flowering and not all buds are equally affected. "Autumn frosts: These can lead to damageÂ.if they either occur in early autumn or immediately after a late season warm spell. Continental climates with extremes of heat and cold are more likely to suffer sudden temperature changes than those with maritime climatesÂ.A sudden temperature drop will catch a plant before it has had a chance to reach maximum hardiness and it may suffer accordingly, even if normally perfectly able to withstand such a temperature in mid-winterÂ..Speed of ripening varies considerablyÂ.There is also a variation in the hardiness of flower buds compared to foliage and growth buds. Commonly, flower buds may be as much as 10 F. less hardy than foliageÂ." (Source: "The Cultivation of Rhododendrons," by P. Cox, 1993, p. 119-120).

On the other hand, there might be something unusual about your friendÂs particular location. (There is some evidence that winter drought could affect flower buds in this way though not likely in Illinois.) He/she might want to call a local Master Gardener and ask whether theyÂre aware of anything abnormal. To locate Master Gardener clinics in various Illinois counties, go to http://www.extension.uiuc.edu/mg/ui-hort-links.html "

Since it appears your buds are not going to open, how would you feel about sacrificing one to slice open and see if the inside evidence will tell you anything, i.e. if it may have been frozen....

    Bookmark   May 1, 2005 at 11:06PM
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When buds freeze they turn brown. I'd just wait and see.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2005 at 6:50PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

They were aware the buds were not brown, my written description that went with the photo was " leaf buds fully elongated and beginning to unfurl, while the green, blunt flower buds remain unopened. The flower buds don't look brown, diseased, frozen or injured, but remain tightly closed"

    Bookmark   May 2, 2005 at 8:34PM
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jesup(z6b/7 Valley Forge, PA)

late-flowering varieties and some others do this, from what I understand (such as Maxecat)

    Bookmark   May 5, 2005 at 12:11AM
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