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Why Are the Flower Buds on My Rose of Sharon Not Opening?

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Question: Why Are the Flower Buds on My Rose of Sharon Not Opening?

The blooms of rose of sharon (aka "althea") are most welcome, coming as they do in the latter half of the summer -- when most flowering shrubs have finished flowering. But occasionally, I receive emails such as this one from Theresa J., asking why rose of sharon flower buds aren't opening:

"What can you recommend for a three-year-old rose of sharon bush that has many, many buds but will not flower...?"

Answer:

There are many possible answers as to why your rose of sharon flower buds are not opening, including:

  • Shade: Rose of sharon will not bloom up to its full capabilities if given too much shade.
  • Rot: During rainy summers, rot can set in and ruin the flower bud (although you may not notice it from the outside). The same effect can be produced by excessive watering, if you water overhead.
  • Drought: Conversely, during dry summers, rose of sharon flower buds may be damaged from drought and fail to open.

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