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Why doesn't my rhododendron bloom?

Rhododendrons are perennial woody shrubs with massed flower clusters. According to the University of Rhode Island when your rhododendron fails to bloom, the problem may be due to weather, planting location or plant care.

History

Rhododendrons are native to forests. Trees sheltered them from weather extremes. Urban plants do not bloom when they are exposed to extremes of cold weather, hot sun or strong wind.

Function

Rhododendrons are easy care, hardy plants suited to hedge, accent or foundation planting.

Features

Rhododendrons need sunlit locations with some shade for healthy blooms. Too much sun kills the flower buds. Too much shade encourages foliage growth and not flower buds.

Warning

Rhododendrons fail to bloom when they are not deadheaded or when young flower buds that provide blooms are removed.

Solution

Cut off rhododendron seed heads after flowering to divert plant energy into new bud growth. Prune within 4 to 6 weeks after flowering to avoid pruning off flower buds that develop later.

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About the Author

Phyllis Benson is a professional writer and creative artist. Her 25-year background includes work as an editor, syndicated reporter and feature writer for publications including "Journal Plus," "McClatchy Newspapers" and "Sacramento Union." Benson earned her Bachelor of Science degree at California Polytechnic University.