Rhododendron Does Not Bloom

Question From: Simi Valley, California, United States
Q: I planted Rhododendron (I don't know the variety name) about 3-4 years ago and it has not had one flower yet. It is very healthy and produces lots of green leaves, gets watered by drip system on a timer and periodic feeding with Miracle Gro and fertilizer specially for Rhod. What could be wrong?

A: You may be killing your Rhodie with kindness. Most plants fail to flower for lack of sun and/or too much fertilizer. Get your soil tested to see what it might need to make your rhodie happy. Better to use organic fertilizers, such as Espoma Hollytone if needed. Best And Happy Yardening, Nancy.

Q: Thanks for your reply - in followup to your info, my rhodie gets morning sun and looks real healthy, so I don't think I am killing it other than with kindness, as you stated. I have had my soil tested a few years ago and it was on the more clay-like side - I do have a bunch of hydrangeas growing near the rhodie and they seem to be doing great - I get loads of big flowers several times a year. Do you have any other suggestions or is that all I can do?

A: Sorry Flo, I've run right out of suggestions. The only other thing I can think of is pruning - either by you or possibly deer. Rhodies begin to set their flower buds in the summer prior to bloom. If pruned too late in the growing season or in spring the flower buds will be cut away. Also, lay off the the Miracle Gro - too much nitrogen will produce lots of lovely green leaves at the expense of flowers. Looks can be deceiving. Best Nancy