Have you spent time, money, and energy cultivating ornamentals but only have beautiful plants and no flower blooms? Don’t despair! There are a few common reasons why your flower plants may not be flowering, and once you uncover your issue, there are steps you can take to help mitigate the problem and get your ornamentals back on track.
Reasons Why Your Plants Aren’t Flowering and How to Solve Them
Issue #1 - Your Soil Has Excess Nitrogen
If your soil nutrients are out of balance, you might experience very little flower growth. Soil with too much nitrogen produces beautiful green plants with plenty of vegetative growth, but excess nitrogen hinders flower production.
A simple soil test or foliar test (foliar tests are done by your local Ag extension office) can determine if excess nitrogen is causing the lack of blooms. To help address this, fertilize your flower plants with a mix that feeds them adequate phosphorus which is necessary for rooting, fruiting, and flowering.
Issue #2 - Poor Weather Conditions
High temperatures or extended rainy weather can cause flower buds to abort or drop from the plant. If the weather has been especially hot, make sure your plants are receiving adequate irrigation early in the morning, so the plant is better prepared to make it through the hottest portion of the day. If you have been experiencing a lot of rain, take a deep breath and wait for the weather to clear.
Environmental stressors can cause disruptions in a plant’s flower cycle, but most plants can bounce back from periods of poor weather.
Issue # 3 - Incorrect Planting Location
All plants have different light and moisture needs. Some plants require 6-8 hours of daylight to flower. Other plants flourish in low light conditions and require shade to perform well. If your plants need shade but are receiving too much sun, they may be under too much stress to flower. Conversely, your plants that are happiest in the sun may not be able to flower if they aren’t receiving adequate hours of daylight.
To solve this problem, first assess if your plants are planted in the correct location. If you determine that they are not, create a plan to better address their individual needs. Perennials can be moved to new locations early in the spring or in the fall for the following season. For your annuals that aren’t having their growing needs met, identify a better location in your yard and map accordingly for the following season.
Issue #4 - Improper Pruning
Some perennials will only flower on old growth, while others flower on new growth. Improper pruning techniques or pruning at the wrong time can greatly reduce flowering. Learn the individual growing needs for your plants to better determine how to help them flourish.
Issue #5 - Plant Age
Some plants are simply too young to flower. This is especially true of some perennials that typically begin to flower in their second or third year. These plants need time to establish a strong root base to survive the winter months and may not have enough energy to produce flower buds their first year. If this is the case, try to be patient that first year and know that you will be rewarded with beautiful flowers for years to come!
There are a number of reasons your flower plants may not be producing the blooms you always dreamed of. However, with careful evaluation, you should be able to figure out the root cause of your flowering woes. Research and listen to your plants’ unique needs, and you’ll be harvesting blooms in no time.