En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - June 02, 2008

From: New Britain, CT
Region: Northeast
Topic: Planting, Shrubs
Title: Non-blooming rhododendron in Connecticut
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

A two or three yr old rhododendron has not blossomed - ever! All other plants in landscape doing well, but not this one. Help

ANSWER:

Rhododendron is a large Genus with over 1000 species, including plants known to gardeners as azaleas. Rhododendrons are very widely distributed occurring through most of the Northern Hemisphere except for dry areas, extending into the Southern Hemisphere through Indo-China, Korea and Japan. Tropical rhododendrons occur from southeast Asia to northern Australia, as well as Borneo and New Guinea. This plant has been extensively hybridized, and tracing its parentage could be very difficult. However, most rhododendrons and azaleas are at their best in fairly mild, humid climates. See this University of Missouri Extension Growing Azaleas and Rhododendrons for more information.

Rhododendrons are grown commercially in many areas for sale, and are occasionally collected in the wild, a practice now rare in most areas. Larger commercial growers often ship long distances; in North America, most of them are located on the west coast, Oregon, Washington and California. Large-scale commercial growers often select for different characteristics than home gardeners might want, such as resistance to root rot when over-watered, ability to be forced into budding early, ease of rooting or other propagation, and saleability. So, you're gardening in Connecticut and getting plants from your nursery that may be non-native in origin and grown on the West Coast in mild, humid areas. We don't think that means your plant is never going to bloom, we just think it might not be mature enough, yet. You do need to check that your plant is in an acid soil, well-drained and high in organic matter. Generally, these are considered understory, part shade plants, but they do need a certain amount of sun to bloom well, so if it's too dark where your rhododendron is, that might be the problem. If you decide that your plant is simply in the wrong place, they have fibrous, shallow roots and transplant well, but it would be better to wait until early Fall when the plant will be more dormant.

 

More Planting Questions

Spot for communion and tree planting on Long Island
February 20, 2012 - I'm planning to combine my son's communion and a tree planting memorial for his uncle/godfather that passed on Valentine's Day. I'm looking for a venue on Long Island that can combine both on May ...
view the full question and answer

Planting buffalograss from Surfside Beach SC
September 14, 2012 - How do I plant buffalograss along a lake? Do I just spread the seeds?
view the full question and answer

Gardening book for beginner gardener
December 06, 2008 - What is a good gardening book for a beginner gardener who lives in Round Rock. Would like info for both vegetables and plants for landscaping. Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Planting dogwood in Baytown TX
April 23, 2010 - I live in Baytown Texas and was wondering if this would be a good area to plant a dogwood tree?
view the full question and answer

Installing limestone walkway around trees from Pflugerville TX
June 28, 2012 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants:I wish to install a limestone walkway in my front yard, however, there are some roots(~ 1.25 inch) in the designated area. Will this hurt or kill the tree if I cut these away? T...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center