Top 5 Reasons Plants Won’t Bloom

By Liz Baessler | April 14, 2018
by Liz Baessler
April 14, 2018

Flowers are an essential part of almost any garden. Whether you’re growing plants specifically for their blooms, or you’re waiting for them to be pollinated and develop into fruits or vegetables, flowers are very important. That’s why it can be devastating when they just don’t show up! Plants can fail to bloom for a number of different reasons, and sometimes it can be hard to figure out just what exactly is going wrong. This guide should help.

Here are our top 5 reasons why plants won’t bloom:

1. Pruning – Sometimes the best intentions can lead to unfortunate consequences. One common example of this is improper pruning. Different plants develop flower buds at different times and on different types of wood (some on old growth, some on new). If you pruned your plant without looking into its pruning requirements, you may have accidentally cut off all of this year’s buds. Don’t worry too much – you’ll get new ones next year!

2. Sun – While it’s far from a hard and fast rule, a lot of plants bloom better the more sun they get. If your plant isn’t blooming well and it’s in a shady spot, this might be your problem. A quick relocation to a more suitable area, or cutting away interfering shrubs/trees that may be casting too much shade, can oftentimes alleviate this issue.

3. Immaturity – This is an especially common problem with fruit trees. Plants that naturally live for many years (like trees) often take a long time to reach maturity (just like people). The time scale varies from tree to tree, but often you can’t count on flowers and fruit from a tree for several years or even a decade.

4. Fertilizer – There are different types of commercial fertilizer available, and they tend to be based around the nutrients they contain and the purpose of those nutrients. Lots of fertilizers are heavy in nitrogen, which is best for leafy growth. This is good for the early period of a plant’s life, when you want it to grow big and strong. When it comes time to flower, however, too much nitrogen will encourage it to keep producing leaves instead of blooming. Fertilizer that’s heavier in phosphorus is better for flower development.

5. Temperature – Plants are highly attuned to temperature, so this problem can mean one of several things. In the case of many fruit trees, a certain number of chill hours in the winter are necessary for flowers in the spring. If your winter was too mild, you might not see any flowers. On the other hand, a cold snap in the spring can easily kill developing flower buds before they get a chance to open. At the other end of the spectrum, there are some plants that thrive in the heat and simply won’t bloom if your summers are too cool.

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