Plants that take a long time to bloom

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by Chilumba, Nov 8, 2009.

  1. Chilumba

    Chilumba Active Member

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    What are some plants that take a long time to bloom? Such as Titan arum.
     
  2. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member 10 Years

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    Camellias! Or at least a small camellia that wasn't thriving in a too-hot/sunny and dry spot in my townhouse front garden and was moved to a mixed shade/sun spot near my birdbath... then, inadvertently, I think, I got some cleaner I used on the birdbath on the root area nearby... maybe. This camellia has looked sick, with rather droopy leaves, etc., all summer although getting plenty of water, and as if a fungus or something was attacking the roots... Well, now, finally, it is producing some small buds and I think they may lead to blooms. The leaves look fresher and perkier, too, and the plant is bushing out a bit all around. I am celebrating the fact I didn't just take it out and dump it... I moved the birdbath away, lest the water that gets hosed from it is over-watering the roots and I certainly am not using any more bleach to clean that. Patience is a Virtue in gardening.
     
  3. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Result of natural selection. Something about the circumstances of each species will make it advantageous or even necessary to produce a massive inflorescence when it flowers, and to take years to build up to that point.
     
  4. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member 10 Years

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    Well, there you go, Chilumba... in Victoria too! Try camellias and practise patience, and experience envy and jealousy when you drive by some property with lush glowing camellias overwhelming everything else in the yard, showing off their Darwinian success!
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2009
  5. 2annbrow

    2annbrow Active Member

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    slow bloomers. . . bamboo, yucca, some wisteria . . .
     
  6. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member 10 Years

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    Just had a thought -- do you mean seldom-blooming [i.e. taking the longest time to show any buds or bloom at all] or slow to come to bloom via the bud, i.e. staying in bud for quite a while before the bloom breaks? Two different things. Well, camellias fit both categories. Also rhododendrons and azaleas... heathers too, right? Slow-bloomers all.
     
  7. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member 10 Years

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    Exochorda x macrantha 'The Bride' or pearlbush is a shrub I have had for one year which develops the pearl-like even row of buds on the ends of the stems and it takes a long while for them to develop and break into bloom... more so perhaps than Weigelas, for example. I was lucky with it actually blooming promptly in late spring after purchasing it in winter... so it was a long-time-in-bud sort of plant... but did not take long to bloom!
     
  8. Chilumba

    Chilumba Active Member

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    Sorry, I should have clarified. I meant plants that takes years to bloom.
     
  9. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member 10 Years

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    Okay. Sort of curious as to why you would want to know, other than avoiding certain plants in order to avoid disappointments... Well, camellias. Not dependable for bloom at all, or else take a long patient wait like the one above regarding which I am now thinking is going to bloom this early spring... because they are busy, as Ron B above notes, naturally selecting themselves by some mysterious criteria... but maybe you are referring to more exotic things like the Titan arum above, or other plants I have heard bloom only once in a few years or so... perhaps you are going to develop a glass greenhouse of exotic tropical plants? Some Clematis take a while to bloom... I had a truly gorgeous triple/double white one which looked like the bloom was made of many rows of cut white paper, very firm and long-lasting, and I have unfortunately forgotten the name of it... it was planted under some lilacs at our house in Halifax before we moved to the Pacific Northwest, and then just a year or two before we moved it began to climb the lilac and bloom all over it, just lovely... and did so even more after we moved, I heard, which made me sad [but a much-loved neighbour dug it up and kept it for herself, as the new owner of our property was not a gardener]... also there is a vine called Ampelopsis brevipedunculata or "porcelain-berry" which is invasive in some areas [i.e. Connecticut] after it gets started, but which I admired in Cape Cod owing to the jewel-like blue berries which were a brilliant, lightly spotted scintillating bright blue as if painted for Easter... the flowers are insignificant apparently, but again, my vine, a gift dug up from Cape Cod, when planted in Nova Scotia took years to establish and was just starting to bloom just before we moved... and then lilacs themselves take a while to get established and bloom, and even then some years they don't very much, and if cut back severely for height they take another 2 or 3 years to bloom...
     
  10. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Ferns . . . they haven't flowered in 200 million years

    ;-)
     
  11. Silver surfer

    Silver surfer Contributor 10 Years

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    Janet, I suspect this is a school/ college project, and has nothing to do with normal plants we all grow in the garden. I may be wrong of course.
     
  12. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member 10 Years

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    That's it, of course! Oh well, hopefully the project works -- was a good idea to contact the Forum.
     
  13. Chilumba

    Chilumba Active Member

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    No this is not for school. Just wondering what plants; tropical or not take years to bloom and are grown for the flower.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2009
  14. thanrose

    thanrose Active Member 10 Years

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    I think most agaves would be considered very slow to come into bloom. One of mine is near fifteen years old with no bloom on the horizon.
     
  15. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Magnolias can take quite a while to come into flower, often around 20 years from seed, but they are definitely worth waiting for.
     
  16. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member 10 Years

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    One could plant a Magnolia seed at a baby daughter's birth, and hope it would bloom for her at a special day, a graduation, wedding, birth of a grandchild...
     
  17. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    With woodland trees like magnolias since the typical specimen has a conical or otherwise upward-oriented, vegetative phase where height is built followed by a spreading, flowering phase where energy is concentrated into bloom the natural assumption is that the need to grow up into the light before commencing flowering (or heavy flowering) is so strong it became genetically ingrained over time. Some species exhibit delayed maturity even when situated in the open, where they may have a low-forking, broad habit due to the lack of shading from the side by other trees.

    Gardeners notice 10-30 year waits for first bloom from flowering trees because the flowers are what they are most wishing to get from this group. The fact that many shade trees also do not bloom until well along in growth does not receive such attention because their blooms are not of interest.
     
  18. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member 10 Years

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    That explains the camellias, perhaps, too... especially where there is considerable or partial shade and the plant is moving upward [my one blooming camellia is doing that, and blooming on the upper part as the top reaches the sun]... my small non-blooming formerly sick-looking camellia [which did produce one perfectly gorgeous blood red bloom right after I moved it] is in a more dappled sun location now although not in unprotected sun, and is thickening-out all around, and putting out small buds, not sure if they are blooms or just leaves and new growth... and so I see older multi-blooming camellias in some bright corner of all the little yards in streets where no one is taking great pains with gardening...
     
  19. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Quite small camellia plants of various kinds appear in garden centers covered with flower buds, then may not bloom much if at all for years after planting out in the final purchaser's garden. There is probably a cultural method such as effective fertilization that producers are using to promote heavy bud set. It is also true that most camellias offered at garden centers here in the past have come from growing facilities located in California, where there may be an overall environmental condition like summer heat that promotes early flower production.
     
  20. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Some of the monocarpic palms are probably the slowest to reach flowering age. Species like Corypha umbraculifera.
     
  21. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member 10 Years

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    It would be nice to know, Ron, what fertilizers produce heavy bud set, though... I find it terribly confusing knowing what shouldn't be fertilized very much, as some plants we are told bloom best when not in particularly fertile soil [potentilla shrubs come to mind, or so I have read -- mind you a completely different plant and grown in different conditions] and what should be fertilized to produce maximum results. One wouldn't want to do something to damage the camellia since the heavy bud set might be produced one year as a result of the fertilizer but then the stress on the plant might be too great to do that every year -- or not? Should I be fertilizing with a bud-encouraging fertilizer? I thought I DID fertilize my recovering camellia at the time it seemed to go down a bit, and wondered if that was the cause of the trouble. Then I left it alone, and right now it's looking as if it is doing well -- by the way some of the tips of branches bearing what I am SURE are growing flower buds are in under the fronds of a Pieris nearby, and I find that odd that the biggest buds would be hiding in there... it is "sunny" shade, but nevertheless inside some of the Pieris fronds... I will cut back the Pieris appropriately to expose them, I wouldn't want any camellia of mine hiding its light under a bush-el...

    Other dwarf rhododendrons I have I think I fertilized too much 2 years ago because the bottom leaves went brown on the tips and edges... I have not done so since, although the condo landscaper did some rhododendron fertilizing recently and I saw them scattering granules in my area. Those plants always looked healthy except for the lower leaves as mentioned, but now new growth has happened to cover that up and they are budding madly -- low dwarf medium-leaved plants.
     
  22. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Pre-emergent herbicides are heavily used in commercial plantings.
     

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