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Poorly rhododendron???

We purchased this rhododendron last spring and planted it in the ground. It was fabulous as can be seen in the photo. I am new to gardening but did all my research and thought I did everything right. Kept it watered during the summer, mulched with plenty of ericacious compost etc. this year the buds have appeared long and thin instead of short and fat! They have started to open but there does not seem to be any flowers inside! Again see pics. Please can anyone advise why this has happened and what I should do next?
Many Thanks. 


  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 31,564
    not uncommon for new plants to put out lots of roots to " settle in " give it a high potash feed ( like tomato feed ) in Autumn which helps
  • punkdocpunkdoc Sheffield, Derbyshire border.Posts: 11,174
    Those look like leaf buds.
    He calls her the chocolate girl
    Cause he thinks she melts when he touches her
    She knows she's the chocolate girl
    Cause she's broken up and swallowed
    And wrapped in bits of silver
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 8,490
    edited 21 April
    The flower buds start to form in the summer but don't open until the following spring.
    A lack of water during the summer can cause the plant not to flower the following year as it's stressed so may not form flower buds, or it may form flower buds that turn brown and then drop off.
    Your plant looks very healthy and new leaves are forming at the top so it may well be as said above that your plant is concentrating on growing a good root system.
    In the summer you should be able to spot next years flower buds forming - that's when it need water most to form flowers.

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • UffUff SW Scotland but born in DerbyshirePosts: 1,698
    I agree with the others. My rhododendrons were planted 6 years ago and it took a while for them to settle, even last year 2 of them didn't flower but all are showing flower buds this year.
    Your plant looks really healthy so don't worry, bet it will flower next year.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,025
    If you bought it last spring, in flower, it would likely have been one of the ones which are forced for the early spring/Easter market. 
    Now that it's planted, it'll settle in and you'll get flowers at the more normal time, as long as it's not short of water in late summer/early autumn, when they form, as already said  :)

    Yes - those are new leaves appearing, not flower buds.  :)
    You may find it'll outgrow that space in time though - depending on the variety.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • ShennyShenny Posts: 102
    Thank you for all your advise. Once again I am reassured. I just don’t really get why it flowered so beautifully last year straight after purchase. Do the growers do something to make them bloom in that first year? 
    Also ideally I want to move it from our very small bed. (Probably should not have put it there in the first place). As you all say it looks healthy so would not want to risk killing it! I would want to move it into a big pot with ericacious compost. Is this an option and if so  when should I do it??
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,025
    The plants are forced into growth artificially. Once they're in more 'normal' conditions, they revert to their normal growing habit. It's just for early sales   :)
    They don't always make great potted specimens. Far more work involved to keep them happy. In a pot, you need a soil based medium, not just compost. Compost is only suitable for plants short term.
    If you decide to do it, it's better to do it soon, so that it gets a chance to settle again. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • ShennyShenny Posts: 102
    Thank you Fairygirl. I will think on it. If I do decide to pot up, I will be sure to follow your advice. 
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