Flower Buds for Container-Grown Hybrid Rhododendron
Richard E. Bir and Joseph L. Conner
Hybrid rhododendrons with flower buds or in flower are most attractive to retail customers. However, many cultivars do not readily produce flower buds on hybrid rhododendron plants in #3 and smaller containers. Bir and Conner (1998) reported increasing the number of flower buds per plant under growing conditions at multiple nurseries using plant growth regulators, but many growers remain reluctant to adopt new practices into their production system.
Traditionally, many North Carolina mountain growers have applied a phosphorus nutrition source in addition to normal controlled-release fertilizers to increase flower bud set on container-grown hybrid rhododendrons. This was based on unpublished research with field-grown rhododendrons conducted by Dr. J. E. Shelton in the 1970s (North Carolina State University, 455 Research Drive, Fletcher, North Carolina 28732).
A test was established to evaluate the effectiveness of Sumagic foliar sprays compared with top dressing 0-46-0 in
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