Lots of buds, very few blooms

gatorbone(8b)February 25, 2013

We moved here in 2004. Have a 12' tall camellia that bloomed beautifully the first couple of years. Since then it has a lot of buds but they just sit there and do nothing. Maybe 20% will open. I have fertilized carefully and watered as needed. Is there any hope?

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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Cold weather and soil moisture problems can negatively affect bloomage. Wildly fluctuating temperatures will cause bud drop; soil moisture that goes from very dry to moist/wet & back will also cause bud drop. In some cases, bloomage may be delayed considerably.

For example, I have a Debutante that started blooming in January when we suddenly got a cold spell so it stopped blooming. Then it restarted in March.

This year, Prof. Sargent has been very tardy. The flower buds look like they should burst open soon but the only problem is that, tonight, the temps will drop to 30 degrees and on the next few days, temps will be around 32+ at night. So, who knows for sure how all the unopened buds will respond.

If you can rule out the weather, maybe the plant is not getting enough moisture during the winter months. For example, at first it may have had sufficient moisture during winter but as it grew larger, it could have reached a point where it regularly needs more water than in prior years. Just an example.

If you think it is the weather, consider early or late blooming camellias. For example, Camellia sasanqua should not have this kind of problem as it blooms early, when temperatures are much warmer. Japonicas bloom during winter and thus can suffer this problem.


    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 7:56PM
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Thanks for the insight.


    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 1:56PM
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Luis, that's interesting. I got Prof. Sgt. a few months ago at Houston Garden Center and it was beginning to bloom then and has been blooming steadily since, a few blooms at a time. It is still in its pot just because I haven't gotten around to planting it yet, and may leave it until it decides it's done.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 6:33AM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

I would leave it potted too until the flower buds have all opened so the replanting does not cause bud drop. Except for roses, I always wonder if I should plant flowering shrubs until after they stop blooming; I do not want to miss any of the unopened flower buds. I have a potted sweet olive that is right now waiting to be planted for that reason.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 10:25AM
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Oh! you have a 'Sweet Olive' ? That is a wonderful camellia, I like it, too.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 7:10AM
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I have a potted japonica that has had great buds for the last three years, but they never, never bloom...The plant comes inside during the Cleveland winter and maintains healthy green folige year long......What should I do???

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 11:13AM
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Oxboy555(Las Vegas)

Do the buds fall off? Shrivel up on the stems?

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 5:33PM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Camellias in the house may abort the buds if the humidity is low. This is very common in houses during winter and requires frequent checking of the soil and the environment. The plants also need to bekept away from a/c or heater vents.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 5:52PM
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vmr423(Zone 8b, SC)

I wonder if the plant that comes inside for the winter is too warm and/or not getting enough sunlight. My understanding is that indoor camellias do best in cooler parts of the house that get some sunlight (or a grow light).

    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 3:12PM
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