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Rose of Sharon won't bloom


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#1 Guest_<Bambi>_*

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Posted 08 August 2002 - 11:16 PM

I have a new Rose of Sharon that I planted this spring. It's almost 5 feet tall and full of buds that don't seem to bloom. It looks like something is eating on them and prevents the bud from blooming. All I have seen is ants on it. Is that the problem? I have another one that I bought at the same time that doing just fine.

Thanks!
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#2 Janet Macunovich

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Posted 11 August 2002 - 05:32 PM

Can you either 1) tell me where you live so I can come by and take some samples of the unopened buds? (you could call the school and leave your address for me on voice mail -- 248-442-7336.)
Or 2) send me some in the mail -- just put the buds into a manila envelope (NO plastic!) and put them directly into the mail?

If you're close enough to me that I can swing by I will. (Although don't ask me when that will be -- My days are full, hectic and my schedule ahs to be loose enough to change with the weather, so I can't make an appointment but would simply make the trip when I get a minute.) But I may be able to give you some ideas if I can see mailed-in buds. (Mail to my attention at The Michigan School of Gardening, 29429 Six Mile Road, Livonia, 48152.)

I have heard this before, that buds form but don't open, though I have yet to see a shrub in person that was acting this way. I suspect there may be a flower thrips problem -- though it would have to be a really big problem to keep every single bud from opening...

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#3 Guest_<Bambi>_*

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Posted 13 August 2002 - 11:10 PM

, I would love for you to come by and see, but I'm sure that it's too far. I live outside of Nashville, TN. So, I am putting some buds in the mail to you tomorrow.

Let me know when you get them.

Bambi
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#4 Guest_<E.W.>_*

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Posted 18 August 2002 - 06:10 PM

Dear :

We live in Ocean City, NJ, a barrier island, about 100 yards from the beach. I have four Rose of Sharan, three the white variety and one the lavender shade. The largest and oldest of the four is eight feet tall and six years old. For the first two years we had beautiful white flowers covering the tree. The last two years however, the tree never bloomed. The same may be said for the lavender Rose of Sharan, now four years old. The two youngest have bloomed quite well.

From reading your comments to others I would presume I should prune both way back prior to next year's growing season. I would also appreciate your recommended feeding.
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#5 Janet Macunovich

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Posted 18 August 2002 - 06:12 PM

Hmmm. I must be confusing issues in my writing. Since rose of Sharon shrubs bloom in summer on new wood they can be pruned hard every year without losing any flower. I have written about them, describing pruning them back, for the sake of those who want to grow them, don't have room for the full sized plant, and want to be able to prune without disrupting the flowering cycle.

But that isn't an answer for you. Pruning won't make a plant bloom, despite some often-repeated advice about lilacs, wisteria and others -- there have not been any scientific, controlled studies that I have ever found on non-blooming (fill in name of plant species here) in which individual plants known to be non-bloomers were grown together with non-treated control plants, treated in different ways, and then observed for subsequent bloom. All we have are anecdotes, and for every one about Aunt 's (fill in name of plant here) that bloomed after she "cut it to within an inch of its life" I can counter with one about Uncle Axel's plant of that same species that never bloomed even though he tried everything from hard pruning to whips.

Anyway.

I would love to be in a position to do scientific studies on this and other topics but am not equipped or funded to do more than quasi-science. If you would like to indulge me to that end, I have asked several people who have reported non-blooming rose of Sharon shrubs to me over the past few years, to mail five to ten of the buds (frequently I hear that the shrubs set buds which then never open) or twig tips from your non-bloomers. I will see if I can find any similarities Among the lot that suggest some answers. I may be able to convince my friends at Michigan State to do some nutrient analyses of those tissues vs. like tissue from known bloomers, for instance, and can look closely at the buds for evidence of pathology or thrips infestation...

If you want to give it a try, send the buds/twig tips to me -- in paper, do not enclose them in plastic, which causes rot -- at The Michigan School of Gardening, 29429 Six mile Road, Livonia, MI 48152
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