Abelias never bloomed

07/12/2008 12:00 AM

07/10/2008 4:27 PM

Q. I planted three fragrant abelias this spring. They look very healthy, are growing well and get lots of sun. But they haven't flow-ered. I have planted the Edward Goucher abelias in the past, and they have always flowered profusely. Any suggestions?

Unlike the abelias such as Edward Goucher, which bloom in summer, the fragrant abelia blooms in late spring-early summer. This is an entirely different species of abelia. You have missed the flowering season this year, probably because the shrubs were spending their energy growing roots and getting established. However, the flowers and scent will be worth waiting for because the little white flowers possess a sweet scent that is very enjoyable. Another asset is the fall color, which is orange to red, and that should show up on time.

Azaleas need slow watering

Q. I fear I have overwatered a couple of my newly planted Gibraltar orange azaleas. They are still hanging on, but looking pretty bad. Is there anything I can do?

It sounds like you are putting enough water on the soil, but that the plant is not getting enough of it. Azaleas are famous for being root-bound when taken out of the containers. Growers push the plants to make them fluffy and attractive.

Often when you take an azalea out of the pot, you see roots wound densely around the outside of the root ball. Teasing these roots away from the root ball or making a shallow cut down the sides and across the bottom of the root ball are two ways to encourage outer growth.

The watering you are doing is not getting into the root zone. This summer, try to water the plants very slowly, so that the water seeps into the root zone. A very slow trickle of the hose should do this for you.

Q. Along Park Road in Charlotte, there is a line of trees, dark green leaves with a contrasting lighter flower which resembles a Chinese lantern. What are they?I'd like to get some to plant.

They're golden chain trees. I often get asked to identify them because they are so different. They grow 20 to 40 feet tall, create a wide canopy and require sun. They tolerate heat, air pollution and drought. As you have seen, they produce good-looking trees along a busy street. If you are shopping, the botanical name is Koelreuteria paniculata. There are some named varieties, including September and Fastigata.

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