rhodo buds

wcaution(z5stl usa)May 6, 2006

bought a new rhodo with alot of nice strong buds on it. when they finally opened all i got was new leafs and no flowers. new foliage is a lighter green than the old leafs. HELP.why no flowers?

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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Hello, wcaution. Oh how many times that has happened to me! I like to rescue plants and buy them cheap so I usually get no flowers on the first year. But in your case, I think inadequate care at the nursery may be the problem since most of the causes are things that happened "a long time ago".

For example, if someone at the nursery fed the plant too much nitrogen-rich fertilizer; if someone at the nursery placed the plant in too much shade; if someone at the nursery pruned the plant after buds formed in late summer; if someone at the plant did not water the plant "correctly"; etc.

What I would do now is forget about the flowers and concentrate on making the plant happy so it can develop a nice set of roots in preparation for its first winter at your home. Yes, flowers are very important but a good root system should receive top priority on the plant's first year.

That happened to me once when I bought a camellia two years ago. I bought it a little too late as it had finished blooming. Oh well. Missed the bloomage that year but the plant is doing very well now.

Choose a spot with dappled or part shade, with moist -but not wet- soil and mulch it good. Maybe feed it some Hollytone in case it has not been fed well.

Whatever happened is in the past so let's concentrate now on the future. Keep the soil moist, specially on the rootball and specially during the critical bud formation period. Then prepare to enjoy the flowers next Spring.

Good luck, Luis

    Bookmark   May 6, 2006 at 1:37PM
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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

All rhododendrons take a couple years to reach the age where they start producing flowers. Most nurseries try to force them into bloom with fertilizers, heat, etc. to shorten the time from rooting until they bloom.

If it was a named variety, then it should have a track record of how mature it must be before it starts blooming. If it is just a seedling, then all bets are off and it may never bloom. Reputable nurseries never deal in such plants unless they are species or have bloomed.

Look at a rhododendron or azalea in the spring before it has bloomed. There are two types of buds. The smaller buds are the leaf buds and the larger ones are the flower buds. In the spring the flower buds swell and become much bigger than the leaf buds. Both occur normally and naturally.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2006 at 4:33PM
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joefsolon(5a/4b)

When the rhodo gets packages like it's gunna bloom, the leaf packages and the flower packages look almost identical. Maybe the things you thought were buds were just leaf packages?.?.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2006 at 9:32PM
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