Q: I planted a goldenrain tree, per your suggestion, four years ago. Although you promised bright yellow blooms in June, that has never happened. Will it ever bloom?
A: My wife is an elementary reading specialist. Practically every week she meets with parents who are concerned that their child is not reading yet. Sandi carefully explains to them that there are several skills a child must master before they are able to read. They must be able to combine letter sounds, context clues and personal experience into the comprehension of a simple sentence like “See Spot run.”
She often reassures the parents that their child “will read when he/she is ready to read” and that different children finally acquire all the skills at different ages.
In just the same way, plants have to acquire several different resources before they are ready to bloom. Roots must be well-established so they can send hormonal signals to the limbs to produce sufficient leaves. Limbs must be abundant enough to collect sunshine to create excess energy to supply to flowers and seeds. Soil moisture and nutrients have to be present in the correct amounts to maintain plant health.
Your goldenrain tree hasn’t bloomed yet because it has not “matured” into a state that produces flowers on the limbs.
Just as you can’t force a child to read when they are not ready, you can’t make a plant bloom before it is well-prepared. Water your tree when the soil is dry, give it a few handfuls of fertilizer each spring and wait for the inevitable. It WILL bloom when it is ready to bloom.