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The rhododendron is a unique plant native to the pacific northwest, California, and north America. It is useful in the cure of health conditions like dysentery, diseases associated with the heart, diarrhea, inflammation, detoxification, and fever.
The alluring beauty in this masterpiece of nature is the reason why it was made the national flower of Nepal and the state flower of Himachal Pradesh in India.
The rhododendron has approximately 1024 species under its genus. As a plant, it is rapidly increasing in popularity within the borders of the united states of America and England, growing mostly in woodlands.
Because of the colorful nature and sweet smell of the rhododendron, it is usually a target for insects and butterflies who cannot resist an opportunity to feed on the rhododendron plant.
Rhododendrons grow in temperate and sub-temperate regions but do not like excessive sunlight or heat.
They usually need a pH level of 4.5 (acidity) to bloom and produce flowers. If your rhododendrons aren’t flowering when they should be, it is because of one or all of the reasons that would be discussed as you continue the read into this article.
This article highlights the reasons for delayed flowering and no flowering at all in the rhododendron plants.
It also states the various solutions and guides you through the various steps to take to revive your rhododendron and help it flower again.
Six Reasons Why Your Rhododendron Isn’t Flowering
1. Premature pruning
2. Inadequate amounts of sunlight
3. Application of too much fertilizer
4. Frost destruction
5. Inadequate water supply
These reasons have different solutions and the usage of one solution for a different problem might lead to the complete death of your rhododendron plant.
We advise that you follow through with this article to completely understand all there is to know about your rhododendron and how to get the best from it every year.
Feel free to ask a question where you are not clear, in the comment section.
1. Premature Pruning (Too Late and Too soon): How it Affects Your Rhododendrons
Rhododendrons are annual bloomers who usually do not produce flowers until after one year.
They produce flower buds around August and wait till February of the next year before those buds grow into blossoming flowers.
This means that they cannot be pruned at the end of the year like roses and orchids. If you do so, you cut away the buds which are already awaiting blossom, leaving the rhododendron with nothing to produce the next year.
Some people cut the buds out of ignorance, others out of anger, but understanding the growth pattern of your rhododendron is an important way to achieve the best flowers every season.
If you must prune your rhododendrons, it has to be immediately after flowering, this is because the buds have not started forming for new growth.
Pruning too late is the practice of pruning months after the previous flowering of the rhododendron plant while pruning too soon connotes pruning before the buds fully mature into flowers.
2. Inadequate Amounts of Sunlight
Rhododendrons like every other species in the plant kingdom need to produce their food using carbon dioxide and water in the presence of sunlight- photosynthesis.
When this is not happening, you cannot blame anyone for your rhododendrons not blooming.
Here’s a quick activity before you continue reading through this article. Quickly check the location of your rhododendron plant around the house.
Is it getting enough sunlight where it is? If your answer is a yes, well done, you deserve a star for good gardening skills.
If your answer is a no, quickly change the plant pot to a location where enough sunlight gets to it, and be sure of beautiful flowers in February.
Be careful not to place the plant where it receives direct sunlight. Too much direct sunlight on the rhododendron causes leaf burn and wilting of flowers.
Do Rhododendrons Like Full Sun?
Even though rhododendrons are temperate plants, they do not like full sun. They instead prefer an indirect application of sunshine.
This is why they grow under trees and do well as indoor plants where the sun’s intensity isn’t so much on them.
3. Application of Too Much Fertilizer
The rhododendron plant grows more favorably and flowers in acidic soil, one that has adequate amounts of nitrogen.
Applying fertilizers to the soil is a great way of helping the plant grow, but it becomes harmful when applied frequently and excessively.
What an excessive application of fertilizer does to the rhododendron is that it stimulates the growth of lots of foliage rather than the growth of flowers.
I know you do not want foliage but flowers.
4. Frost destruction
Winter and all the havoc it does on the rhododendron keep you wondering why the process of bud maturing into flowers has to be in winter through spring.
Frost is a thin layer of ice that forms on plants when the weather is cold and below freezing point.
Frost on the rhododendrons makes the leave turn brown and destroys the flowering buds.
Rhododendrons are flowering plants that survive in temperate warm conditions, not icy conditions or late frost in spring.
The Frosting makes the rhododendrons not bloom into flowers when they ought to. This is because the buds get destroyed by the frost.
5. Inadequate Water Supply
No one loves to go thirsty for prolonged periods. Rhododendrons also do not like going without water for prolonged periods.
If this happens, the soil around the plant becomes dry and the roots cannot supply enough water for the survival of the buds, which kills the buds.
These buds cannot bloom anymore and so your rhododendron does not flower for a full year.
Planting your rhododendrons close to trees can also reduce the water supply to the root and stem of the plant.
This is because tree toots compete with the rhododendrons for water and almost every nutrient.
Who do you expect to win in a fight between a tree and a tender little flower? Of course the tree! So the rhododendron gets starved of water and does not bloom.
Fungal and bacterial infestations on the rhododendrons cause certain diseases that cause the rhododendron plant not to bloom.
The most common rhododendron diseases are bud blast, powdery mildew (Erysiphe spp.), petal blight (Ovulinia azalea), Azalea leaf gall, leaf spots, rust (Chrysomyxa rhododendron), honey fungus (Armillaria spp.), phytophthora root rot (Phytophthora spp.), and silver leaf.
A disease like a rhododendron bud blast makes flower bud turn brown and die yet remain attached to the stem.
Petal blights cause spots to appear on petals under wet conditions and cause the petals to collapse into a wet, slimy mess.
The petal blight also spreads fast and is quick in contaminating the other parts of the plant.
How to Make Your Rhododendrons Flower Annually
Rhododendrons produce flowers every year. Their natural process of bud formation and maturing into flowers helps them maintain the consistent annual production of flowers.
The following are ways to help your rhododendrons produce flowers regularly.
1. Cut down on excessive shade: If your rhododendron is growing inside the house, ensure the plant pot stays where sunlight gets to it indirectly.
Rhododendrons are not to be kept in the staircase of an elevator where there is no sunlight.
If you grow yours outdoor, ensure there are not many branches shielding it away from the sun.
2. Practice mulching: mulching is the use of dead leaves and plants to cover the soil. Mulching helps to add nutrients to the soil in adequate amounts that cannot be excessive.
Mulching also prevents water loss directly from the soil because it covers the soil from the direct heat of the sun.
3. Water regularly: do not leave your rhododendron plant for days on end without a good drink.
If you do so, you might just be killing the buds from thirst. Water the plants at least two times a week and do not let
4. Plant in nurseries: this is important during cold seasons. When the weather is really cold and your rhododendron cannot survive outside because of the frost, simply take it into the nursery and let it bud completely.
Avoid keeping your plant in a condition that gets it too cold and below freezing point.
Alkaline Soil Prevents Rhododendrons From Flowering.
Rhododendrons grow in acidic soil with a pH level of 4.5 to 5.5. Growing them in alkaline soil keeps the bud growing without flowering.
When you plant, ensure the soil is acidic in composition, else you risk planting without flowering
Should You Deadhead Rhododendrons?
Deadheading is the act of pruning rhododendrons at the base of the stem. You should deadhead your rhododendrons but do so only immediately after flowering.
Beyond that time, you would end up destroying the bud due to late deadheading. So if you have to deadhead, do so when it is still early.
Rhododendrons are the largest flowering species with over 1024 different species of this plant belonging to a single genus.
They are economically useful as well as necessary in the health sector. The flowers are also alluring but like every beautiful thing on the planet, take time to bud and bloom.
If you have plans to decorate your surroundings with rhododendrons and its other species, this article is a great guide to the best practices for helping your rhododendron flower.