British Columbia: chimonanthus praecox - no blooms!

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by sherlock007, Jul 28, 2006.

  1. sherlock007

    sherlock007 Member

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    Have had a winter sweet planted since it was a very young shrub, about 6-7 yrs now. Growth has been excellent, but still no blooms. Well drained location getting sun in summer from about 10:00 am - 2:00 pm. Have tried root pruning, pruning of branches, still nothing. Does it require far more sun to be successful, or something else? No one else I've talked to growths this. Purchased it from nursery on Vancouver Island and it blooms reliably for them. Your help appreciated.
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Pruning of branches--flower buds are set on previous year's growth--or roots would just hold things up further, if anything. It is probably a seedling that isn't quite old enough yet. I have seen 'Luteus' blooming in the old crowded nursery at the Seattle arboretum, so presumably lack of sun would not be the case in your instance.
     
  3. sherlock007

    sherlock007 Member

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    Dear Ron: Thank you for your reply. I will keep this in mind. Any particular feeding requirements, pH etc. that you know of? The branches I am getting so far are not yet branched out yet themselves.
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Unlovely habit characteristic, the flowers are the thing. If it is a good green and vigorous I wouldn't think I needed to tinker with its situation.

    "Wintersweet is best left unpruned when young, so that mature flowering wood can develop. Once established, little or no pruning is required for a freestanding shrub. If necessary, shoots can be thinned, and older branches can be shortened by 6-12in (15-30cm)."

    --Brickell/Joyce, PRUNING & TRAINING (DK Publishing)
     
  5. sherlock007

    sherlock007 Member

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    Thank you once again! Will wait and see what spring brings. Will I be able to see blooms being set in late fall, or will I have any idea that 'this will be the year of the bloom'?? :-)
     
  6. Alexiamei

    Alexiamei Member

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    Just read something that says that this plant may take 5-12 years to bloom! I bought one this year myself and am eagerly waiting to see if it will flower. The other thing it said is that it may not flower well after a cool summer. Best of luck.
     
  7. sherlock007

    sherlock007 Member

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    Greetings! This last winter in February I had about 6 blooms on older, very small twiggy growth. It had been about 7 years now and this shrub demands ROOM! Growth is huge, straight and rather awkward looking, but I am hoping for the best for next winter. Unfortunately the blooms froze and fell off about a week after they were out (we had a particularly bad cold spell). Unfortunately I have to keep nipping branch ends as it intrudes greatly into the rest of the garden space, so I hope this does not deter blooming. If anyone else has experience with this shrub, please let me know!
    Cheers!
     
  8. Alexiamei

    Alexiamei Member

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    I am glad to hear you finally had some flowers. I am also worried that you said it needs room because mine is right next to the patio and window. At the moment is only about 50cm high and has not put on much growth this summer. Also the leaves start a lovely green and then after a while they look battered - not sure if it is too much sun, too dry, too wet. The aspect is south west, it is by a low wall, then window, right next to the end of the patio, and the ground slopes away from the patio (so I didn't think it is too wet but I may be wrong).
     
  9. Poetry to Burn

    Poetry to Burn Active Member

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    Wintersweet's fragrance is spectacular. It is up there with Osmanthus, Daphne, Boronia, Rose, Jasmine, etc.

    This plant is about 8 years old. It has been a reliable bloomer from the start but more floriferous with age. It is growing near the beach with fast drainage, no feeding and 5-6 hours of direct sun. Zone 7. Despite its rangy habit and coarseness in leaf Wintersweet dazzles in the winter landscape.

    Photo's from 1/9/08
     

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  10. sherlock007

    sherlock007 Member

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    Dear Poetry:

    Thnx for the email. My bush (which started as 2 slender sticks with roots from a nursery) is about 8 years old now, has grown considerably and probably has about 20 flower buds on it right now. Last year I had 6. Definite improvement. Never got to see them in bloom, they just fell off, so either one of the minus 15 nights hit it too hard last yr, or an ambitious squirrel knocked them off. I am hoping for actual visualization of in-bloom shrub this year, and a preview at least of the scent I have heard about for so long. I am in a bit of a wet location (Pitt Meadows), in summer it receives about 5 hrs of sun earlier in the day.

    When does your shrub bloom? I am zone 7 out here, and about 2 weeks behind bloom time of shrubs in say, Point Grey. Any further help or encouragement is appreciated.

    Cheers!
     
  11. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Chimonanthus praecox is in full bloom at the garden right now. Has been for at least a week. The fragrance is truly glorious.

    There is also a specimen of C. praecox 'Lutea' at the entrance, but it was severely knocked back by last winters weather. I have not looked to see if there are any blooms.
     
  12. Poetry to Burn

    Poetry to Burn Active Member

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    Hi Sherlock,

    My plant has been OK with 5F. I have it close to a fence which provides shelter. It does not grow rapidly at all so i don't lose much flowering wood to pruning. It will be another 2 weeks before it is in full bloom in Cape May NJ.

    Eric are 'Lutea' and 'Luteus' the same plant?
     
  13. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Only the latter is a plant. The other is a creation of my faulty brain.

    Thanks for the spell check Poetry to Burn. Looking at RHS got me curious of the new cultivars that might be out there. I might have to add a few to my home garden!
     
  14. Poetry to Burn

    Poetry to Burn Active Member

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    Eric, I wasn't really sure about which is correct. 'Lutea' gets more google hits than 'Luteus'. Funny that you used the same RHS link way back here.

    It gets close to 0F in Cape May and it can be very windy. I think the cultural suggestion to provide shelter/warmth may be key to cranking up the flower production.
     
  15. Poetry to Burn

    Poetry to Burn Active Member

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    Most buds ever for this plant. Really a spectacular treat in a frigid January landscape.
    This is the same plant pictured above in post #9, i.e. 'Luteus'.

    Photo 1/7/09 West Cape May, NJ.
     

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    Last edited: Jan 11, 2009
  16. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Photos here are showing yellow forms, the typical plant is more the color of white corn.
     
  17. sherlock007

    sherlock007 Member

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    Re: chimonanthus praecox

    Greatings! Thank you for your note. Although mine produced more buds this year, many fell off (or were perhaps suspisciously consumed by squirrels) during our minus 10C weather. I have not really noticed any of the wonderful scent in the yard or near the shrub...I need to get my nose VERY close to the blooms, and then it is lovely. Starting to lose faith here....hope it does not need a 'warmer' winter climate to elicit scent. It did produce twice as many blooms as last year despite some late summer pruning due to 'overgrowth'. Am hoping for something more next winter. It is sort of in bloom now, but has been sporadically blooming since earlier in December. (Mind you, my forsythia spurt out blooms this year in November and December, which is really unusual for it!).

    Happy Winter.
     

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  18. Poetry to Burn

    Poetry to Burn Active Member

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    No plant is more enchanting in January in my garden.
     

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