Flowers are an essential horticultural feature of any flowering plant and it can be quite daunting to wait for your plant to bloom and it just doesn't! Right? Getting a flowering plant can be quite an intimidating task- especially if you are a new plant parent. Your plant just might not bloom and that can quite understandably frustrate you. While some plants takes years to bloom a flower (Hello, Orchids!), some might just be producing foliage instead of flowers.
Flowering is not just an ornamental activity for the plant. It is one of the major methods of propagation to increase species. Additionally, it takes up a lot of energy for the plant to produce flowers. So there needs to be sufficient sunlight or water or even fertilizer, to ensure that your plant gets all that it needs to give you some happy blooms. There can be a lot of reasons why your plants are not giving off a bud- some we can regulate and rectify, other we simply have to accept.
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Know Your Flowers
There can be three types of flowers that you might be growing in your garden- and understanding the type of life cycle they lead, will not only help you understand how and when to get the most blooms and give a much required reality check on when they die off.
- Annual plants include: Zinnia, Marigold, Radish
- Biennial plant include: Sweet Williams, Onions
- Perennial plants include: Basil, Potato, Strawberry
This saying aptly describes the delayed gratification that comes with growing perennial plants:
"The first year they sleep, the second year they creep, and the third year they leap."
WHY AREN'T YOUR PLANTS FLOWERING?
Now, lets take a look at some of the main reasons why your plants might not be flowering & what you can do to fix them.
A very common reason for plants not flowering is their age. Plants need to reach a certain age after which they can put in their roots deep and bloom flowers. For flowering varieties, a lot of them are seasonal- which means that they need to reach their appropriate season with favourable growing conditions to give the pretty blooms. While plants belonging to the Sunflower family (like Zinnia, Dahlia etc), product flowers during the hot summer months, daisies like Gerbera and dainty Petunia flowers dominate the winters with their array of coloured blooms. However, deadheading the blooms- much before the plant gets a chance to set seeds- often delays the death of the plant.
Since flowering is an additional work for the plant, we need to ensure that the plant is getting its proper dose on nutrition. NPK Fertilizers ( containing proportionate amounts of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium, among the other elements) provide the plants with proper support for healthy growth. While a high nitrogen fertilizer greatly aids in foliage growth, it mostly comes at the expense of blooms- which can be controlled with a monitored dose of Phosphorus.
On a broader view, check for other factors, before you overdose the plant on fertilizer. Remember, too much of something good might not be very good for the plant. Check for factors like pests, sunlight requirements, water and other factors, and if they are met- before you decide to add some extra food to the soil. It is, afterall, an overall effect that determines the plant and its ability to produce flowers. And it is important that the balance among those are bought so that the plant is not stressed.
On an average, flowering plants require approximately 6 hours of sun to process all the raw material ( or Carbon dioxide and water molecules) and photosynthesize it to create sugars to feed themselves. This metabolic activity is majorly dependent on, you guessed it right, the Sun. If the plant doesn't get enough sunlight, it will soon start showing signs of stress. Remember when we told you that flowering takes up a lot of energy? One of the first sings of stress that a plant will show is to drop off its buds even before they bloom. This is solely because the plant shifts its entire focus and resources to stay alive. And due to phototropism, though the plant will grow towards the sun. the growth will be scraggly and sparse.
Similarly your balcony will also play a major role in keeping your plants. East facing balconies give off the cool morning sun, while West facing balconies have the hot afternoon sunlight. South balconies provide sunlight for almost the entire day and are good for plants that need a lot of sun. North facing balconies mostly don't get any sunlight and are good for foliage plants. So if you are getting plants that need "full sun", then an east or west facing balcony is the most appropriate.
Pruning is very essential for the plant to ensure that it not only grows in a desired shape but also keeps it focus on flowering and fruiting. But how and when you prune your plant, makes or breaks the bloom streak. Late season pruning, if often a common reason why you are not getting proper flowers. Ensure the plant are pruned right when the dormancy is to break and the growing season starts, so that will less foliage the plant can drive all it s force to new growth. Some plants like Hydrangeas, set their buds almost a year prior to blooming, so make sure you are not trimming off any active apical nodes and stems.
Winters can be a difficult time for a lot of plants. The dropping temperatures with frigid winter winds can very easily damage the plants. Monsoon is another season that is a harbinger of pests and other moisture related issues. Taking some extra cautionary steps during the changing seasons can greatly help in maintaining your plants. Similarly during the soaring summer temperatures, partial shade is a good option to save the plants from getting bleached out or burned tips.
So What Should You Do
While Mother Nature is a force we do not want to battle with, let's round up the more manageable points in a nutshell that just might help break the no-bloom streak for your plants:
- Understand the growing season for your plant to ensure seasonal propagation.
- Let the plants get about 5 hours of daily sunlight to aid in the metabolic processes.
- Ensure the plants are properly hydrated to carry out the flowering and fruiting activities.
- Make sure you don't over fertilize your plants with excess of nitrogen based fertilizers.
- Know the season when you should prune your plants to keep the growing active nodes for a healthy bloom.
And there you go. Now that you know why your plants don't flower and how you can rectify that, you can go right ahead planting those plants without getting intimidated by them!
If you still have questions about your flowering plants, you can chat with our Plant Experts to assist you with the same! (PS. you can reach out to our Plant Experts for pretty much any query related to your plants 😉)
Looking to add to your Plants collection? Check out our Plant Picker Quiz for some super-smart recommendations.
Now that you know how to get your plants to bloom flowers, it's time to add some beautiful flowering plants to your balconies. Check out Leafy Island's Flowering Plants Collection.
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