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Not Much Flowers

I planted a large mixed raised border in June. The soil is a mix of 2/3 top soil 1/3 compost, and 500g BFB. Very few flowers from either the shrubs or the perennials.  Is this normal? Any suggestions on feed to improve flowering? 


  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 3,039
    edited September 2019
    Some plants take a year or two, or more for slow-growing shrubs, to settle in and reach their full potential.  It might help if you could tell us what you planted?
  • lizf4619lizf4619 Posts: 30
    edited September 2019
    Geranium, geums, achillea, sanolina lemon fizz, ophiopogon, lysimachia. Variegated rhododendron, roses and hebes. I've also just started to plant bulbs. 
  • I got nothing at all from the roses, geranium and rhododendron. Geums and achillea half a dozen flowers.
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 23,471
    Did you water regularly and well?  It's very important that rhodos, azaleas and camellias get plenty to drink now as this is the period when they set their flowers for next spring.  Being too dry will make the flowers buds fail to form or else drop off.   

    Some roses can take a year or two to establish before they decide they have the energy to produce flowers.    

    I would add liquid feeds of rose, tomato or seaweed mix to your watering regime from next spring and, as soon as the perennials die back this autumn, a good mulch of well-rotted garden compost and manure for the worms to work down into the soil over the winter.   Next spring a generous handful per square metre of BF&B or other slow release fertiliser for roses or tomatoes should help with flowering.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 3,039
    I agree with the advice above. Leave the feeding until spring, but make sure it's well watered, particularly the shrubs. You don't say where you are but some parts of the country have had a very dry summer, and a raised bed/border will dry out faster than level ground. Ophiopogon does flower (mine does anyway) but they aren't very significant. It's mostly grown for the foliage. Also, you have a mixture of sun-lovers and things that prefer a bit of shade, as well as moisture-lovers (eg geum) and things that like it drier (eg santolina) , so you might want to check the positions and tailor the watering to individual requirements.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 35,520
    lizf4619 said:
    I got nothing at all from the roses, geranium and rhododendron. Geums and achillea half a dozen flowers.
    Rhodies would have finished flowering by June.  :)
    Also - you have plants with differing requirements in the same bed. Santolina and rhodies for example. That will have a bearing, as will the location/aspect of the bed, and what else is around it. Rhodies like some shade, santolinas like sun, so the planting needs to be carefully thought out togive plants the best chance to thrive. 
    The size of the plants is also relevant. A tiny little geranium is unlikely to produce much, compared to a large, 3 yr old one. 
    Have you a photo of the bed?
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Sorry been out all day. Fairygirl, I'm just south of you in Ayrshire. Water hasn't been a problem. Growth hasn't been an issue either - just flowers. As you can see I've cut back the geraniums and put in an anenome this afternoon. The achillea has come out just in the last couple of days. Next job is to clear the tomatoes 😁

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 10,077
    The soil may have contained an excess of nitrogen this year which would promote green growth at the expense of flowers but that will correct itself by the spring I would expect.  As mentioned above, next year I would feed them with tomato food every fortnight or so from late spring, as it contains nutrients which will promote flowers and fruit.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 35,520
    There's a lot of planting in that small border. They'll be taking up the available water quite quickly, despite plenty falling out the sky  ;)
    Those rhodies alone will be sucking up huge amounts. 
    I don't think I'd be too worried about the condition of the plants or their flowering. It can take a while for them to settle in. New plants need to get established and form strong roots, often at the expense of flowers. 
    Make sure the rhodies are really well watered - especially that one on the left if it gets a lot of sun. Add a mulch of bark or good compost as well to help with moisture loss.  They need a lot of moisture in late summer to form the buds for next year's flowers. If there's a rose in there, it'll need some extra oomph from the soil too. Well rotted manure is ideal. @Marlorena is the rose expert here on the forum, so it's worth asking her for advice on the roses.  
    You'll need to stay vigilant with feeding and watering next year though. Those shrubs alone will take a lot. Despite the amount of rain we get in the west, you'd be surprised how quickly that bed will dry out. Raised beds dry out more quickly anyway.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

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