HAVE had a Rhododendron yakushimanum and a gardenia for four
years now and they have never flowered. I fertilise them with the
azalea, camellia, rhododendron fertiliser and spray with Sequestrene,
but still no flowers. Can you help?
these plants generally flower at an early age as long as they are
healthy, and it sounds as if you are doing most things right in
that regard. The question is, are they setting flower buds that
fail to open or are no flower buds being initiated?
If the plants are growing
well but lack flower buds, then simply cutting out the fertiliser
to slow growth and encourage flowering may do the trick. But don't
be tempted to cut the plants back as you may remove shoots with
potential flower buds. The ideal time to prune rhododendrons is
immediately after flowering, but yakushimanum types seldom need
pruning. Never prune them in winter as you'll remove the shoot tips
that flower in spring.
Similarly, don't prune
gardenias unless absolutely necessary, such as to reduce legginess.
Unlike the rhododendron, gardenias need to be in a very warm spot
to get good flowering - though the variety 'Fragrant Star' is said
to flower well in relatively cool conditions.
Gardener, Issue 206, 2006, Page 37
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.