It is frustrating when your blooming garden suddenly has drooping flowers. Unfortunately, plants do not give much warning when conditions are unsuitable and take an extreme route to express their displeasure. However, drooping flowers are a sign of distress, and you need to find out what is affecting your plants.
13 reasons why your flowers are drooping are usually the following:
- You are overwatering your flowers.
- You are underwatering them.
- High temperatures may wilt your flowers.
- The flowers may be in a spot that stays wet.
- Pests and diseases affect your plants.
- The flowers have inadequate sunlight.
- Your flowers are aging.
- Your potted flowers have outgrown their pot.
- Your soil is compacted.
- You overfertilized your flowers.
- Your flowers have transplant shock.
- You moved your flowers from a shaded area to a sunny spot.
- The flowers may be unhealthy.
There’s no reason why your flowers should look unhealthy when most of the time, it’s an easy fix to get them to flourish once more. This article will explain common reasons why your flowers are drooping. I will also provide solutions that will help you revive the flowers so that your flower garden can grow back to its vibrant blooms.
1. You Are Overwatering Your Flowers
Too much water can cause your garden flowers to droop. When you overwater your plants, the roots suffocate and cannot take in water as they usually would. The entire plant is denied the water and nutrients it needs to thrive.
Flowers and leaves typically show the first signs of stress. The flowers will start to droop while the leaves wilt. If the soil is soggy, it is most likely due to overwatering.
How to Fix It
If the soil is soaked, you should stop watering for some time. Allow the soil to be completely dry before watering your plants again.
You should also follow the recommended watering schedule for the flowers. For example, drought-tolerant annuals like marigolds, zinnia, and cleome need minimal watering, at least once a week. Others, such as alyssum and snapdragons, need regular watering.
Sometimes, poor soil drainage may be why your garden retains too much water. Add compost or well-composted manure to improve the soil’s drainage.
This video discusses the reasons why plants droop and what you can do to fix it:
2. You Are Underwatering Them
Flowers can also droop due to a lack of water. The limited uptake of water will result in dehydrated plant cells along the stem, causing them to start shrinking. Over time, the flowers droop and start to die if the plants don’t receive sufficient water.
How to Fix It
Water the flowers deeply to ensure the soil is well saturated and the roots are well fed. Since the plant is thirsty, it will initially need a lot of water to recover. Over time, you can cut back on the watering or adjust the frequency accordingly.
Check the soil during the period of deep watering.
Is it drying out quickly, or does it stay wet? If it dries out, you need to keep watering. However, if it stays wet for hours or even remains wet until the next watering session, you need to change the schedule.
Once your flower stabilizes, check the first 2 inches (5 cm) of soil to see if it is wet or dry. If the soil is dry, water your flowers, but if it is wet, wait another day or two before watering your flowers.
3. High Temperatures May Wilt Your Flowers
Flowers, like roses, droop when the temperatures are too high. These flowers droop during the day but perk right back in the evening. Drought stress also causes flowers to droop because they lose more water through transpiration. The cells in the plant collapse, so the leaves and flowers start to wilt.
How to Fix It
Wilting is a defense mechanism for plants when they want to reduce the amount of water lost due to the summer heat.
Since the plant is losing more water than it’s absorbing, you should:
Water More & More Often
Increase the amount of water you give the plant and the frequency. However, avoid overwatering your plants because you will have a new set of problems.
Control Moisture Loss With Mulch
Add generous layers of mulch to control the loss of moisture. Mulch will also keep the soil cool and prevent heat stress.
Cool the Plants With Water
Hose down your plants before the sun sets to cool them. Some flowers can benefit from the extra moisture during a hot day instead of waiting for the next watering schedule.
Set up a Shade
Consider setting up a shade over your flowers. You can use a large beach umbrella, old bedsheets, propped-up cardboard, or a 30-40% shade cloth.
These will give your flowers relief from the scorching sun. When using a cloth, ensure it is light-colored and that you place it a few feet away from the plants to allow air to circulate easily around them.
Don’t Prune Damaged Foliage
Your plants are already stressed, so you don’t want to make things worse, especially if the dry foliage still has living tissue. In addition, new growth will be more vulnerable to the heat.
Prune the plants in the fall when it is cooler. However, roses are an exception. Since they are susceptible to disease, you should prune weathered blooms and damaged branches.
Don’t Fertilize During Heat Stress
Avoid fertilizing plants that are suffering from heat stress. The plants will suffer from fertilizer burn because they lack sufficient water. Only use compost or organic fertilizer, which contains no salt.
4. The Flowers May Be in a Spot That Stays Wet
If the soil drains well and you stay on top of your watering routine but still have constantly wet ground, you need to consider the possibility that the garden’s position is the problem. It may be on a low spot that collects runoff water.
As with overwatering, the roots are smothered and not taking in the water it needs to sustain the leaves and flowers. The result will be wilting leaves and drooping flowers.
How to Fix It
Add a gravel-filled trench to drain water away from the garden. If possible, divert running water before it reaches the garden.
You can also solve the problem once and for all by raising the garden’s bed using compost, peat moss, coconut coir, perlite, and sand. These will raise the bed and also improve the soil’s drainage.
5. Pests and Diseases Affect Your Plants
Pests and diseases also cause flowers to wilt. Diseases kill the roots, or they affect the water cells. The disease clogs the plant, preventing the water and nutrients from moving to the flowers. The result will be drooping flowers.
Some plant diseases that cause flowers to droop include:
Soil-borne fungi enter the plant roots and grow upwards to the xylem. The result is Verticillium wilt.
Flowers vulnerable to verticillium wilt include roses, geraniums, asters, peonies, and black-eyed Susans. Symptoms vary, but they include dark spots, a dark ring in cross-sections of branches, reduced vigor, and drooping flowers.
Peony Wilt (Botrytis)
Botrytis is a fungal disease that usually targets wounded plants, specifically peonies. It is typically active during spring and early summer but can be present in the plant all year long. Symptoms include gray mold, brown patches on the stem and leaves, and drooping flowers.
Phytophthora affects the roots and sometimes the crown of plants. Phytophthora is one of the most severe root-decaying diseases that affect different plants, including roses.
It thrives in low temperatures and high humidity. Symptoms include weak roots, wilting leaves, dark brown rotting roots, drying foliage, and drooping flowers.
Clematis wilt is a fungal disease that attacks plants with “wounds” created by pests or during pruning. It blocks water uptake, causing flowers to droop and leaves to wilt. It spreads quickly through the plant. If not treated quickly, the plant will die.
How to Fix It
Diseases are the most difficult to control when they affect your flowers. Most of these wilt diseases don’t have chemical treatments. So, you have to devise means to control the spread and possibly prevent the diseases from attacking your flowers when they recover.
Refer to the table below for tips on how to deal with the following diseases:
6. The Flowers Have Inadequate Sunlight
Plants that aren’t meant to grow in the shade will start to wilt if they don’t receive adequate sunlight. This reaction is primarily because the plant is not absorbing enough light, so it isn’t producing enough food for itself. The outcome will be wilted leaves and drooping flowers.
The soil in shaded areas also takes longer to dry, which may affect the plant.
How to Fix It
Move the plants to a sunny spot if it’s in a container, or try to trim back trees or foliage if it throws shade over your plants.
You should also plant flowers that thrive under the shade if you cannot find a sunny spot. Consider replanting your flowers to another site if they are wilting due to lack of sunlight.
7. Your Flowers Are Aging
Sometimes, flowers droop when the plant has completed its life cycle. Annuals start showing signs of slow growth towards the end of the growing season, and the flowers start to droop as they go into seed.
Perennials actively bloom for a few seasons before they begin to decline unless you step in to revive the plants. One of the signs of aging growth is buds that fail to open, or when they do, they droop within a short time.
How to Fix It
Snip off the drooping flowers and leaves to allow the plant to focus its energy on new growth. You may also add some fertilizer to support new growth, as this might give your flowers a new lease on life. Alternatively, consider replacing them with new seedlings if your flowers have come to the end of their lifespan.
8. Your Potted Flowers Have Outgrown Their Pot
If the drooping flowers are in a pot, it may be because the plant has outgrown its pot. When the pot is too small, the roots may be rootbound.
When a plant is rootbound, they are not absorbing water and nutrients properly due to a lack of surface area. The result will be wilting leaves and flowers.
How to Fix It
Repot the plant with new soil and ensure the soil medium favors your specific species of flowers with room enough for your plant to grow. The plant may have exhausted the nutrients in the soil in the old pot, so replacing the pot with a larger one with a batch of fresh soil may reinvigorate your ailing flowers.
9. Your Soil Is Compacted
Soil compaction is another common problem in flower gardens. It denies the roots oxygen, water, and nutrients.
This condition ultimately affects the entire plant, including the flowers, whose buds sometimes fail to open. And even if the buds open, the flowers often droop soon.
Compacted soil particles are compressed so tightly that the small pockets of air collapse, limiting air circulation. Compact soil also limits how much water your flowers receive.
The plants will not take in enough water even if you follow the proper watering regimen. The roots will take in very little, while most may be lost through evaporation.
Effects of soil compaction include the following:
- The garden becomes a breeding ground for pests and diseases.
- The plant becomes weaker due to poor root growth.
- There will be fewer and unhealthy blooms.
- The garden is prone to flooding.
How to Fix It
Soil compaction can easily be prevented and even solved.
You should do the following:
- Add vermiculite or perlite to compacted soil to promote water infiltration and soil aeration.
- Avoid stepping on wet soil while working in your garden. Instead, use wood planks or garden paths.
- Add compost and any other organic matter to improve drainage and aeration.
10. You Overferilized Your Flowers
Flowers need fertilizers at different stages of growth. During vigorous growth, you need to fertilize most annuals and perennials.
However, there are exceptions and specific guidelines when fertilizing flowers:
- Use fertilizer sparingly on seedlings and young flowers because their roots are still tender and susceptible to damage if exposed to too many chemicals. Dilute liquid fertilizer to half its strength or less.
- Fertilize flowering annuals the entire growing season until early fall.
- Perennials need fertilizer in early spring and mid-summer. Avoid fertilizing in the fall because the flowers are slowing their growth in preparation for dormancy in winter.
When you fertilize flowers longer than they should be or use too much fertilizer, you’ll have more foliage and fewer flowers. However, the plant stems will also become weak.
11. Your Flowers Have Transplant Shock
Flowers tend to droop when you transplant them due to transplant shock. When transplanting flowers, fine roots are often damaged.
These roots are responsible for absorbing most of the water. Thus, many plant experts suggest you preserve as many roots as possible when transplanting.
How to Fix It
Keep watering your flowers regularly. Ensure the roots are soaked enough to support new growth.
The remaining roots will take in more water to feed the plant while new roots emerge. Over time, your flowers will heal, and they will grow normally.
12. You Moved Your Flowers From a Shaded Area to a Sunny Spot
As plants grow, they adapt to their environment. When you start moving your container plants to different areas too suddenly, the flowers may start drooping.
Whether you are moving plants between intense sunlight and shade, or vice versa, you will be introducing stress to the flowers, which will respond by drooping.
How to Fix It
Before transferring plants to a new location permanently, introduce them to the new environment slowly. For example, take the plants out to the sun for a few hours a day and bring them back into the shade if you intend to move the plants to a sunny area.
Repeat this for one to two weeks, gradually increasing the number of hours under the sun, before moving the plant outdoors permanently.
You should also water them irregularly a few weeks before the final transfer. You not only want the flowers to adapt to the sun, but you also don’t want them to droop because they are thirsty.
13. The Flowers May Be Unhealthy
Sometimes, flowers droop because the plant is unhealthy. Plants that are already stressed will droop when they flower. When you compare plants of the same age, but one appears to have stunted growth, you will notice differences in how the flowers bloom.
How to Fix It
You should attempt to solve the problems with your plants before they start flowering. Evaluate your plants whenever possible, and notice differences that may affect them when they flower.
If the plants appear malnourished, consider fertilizing them or moving some plants if overcrowding is the problem. Whenever possible, time your intervention early so that the plants are healthy enough to support new blooms.
Flowers droop for multiple reasons, which sometimes overlap. You will need to examine the plant and consider that the flowers are drooping because the plant is facing multiple challenges.
For example, the problem may be overwatering, mainly because the soil has poor drainage. So, when correcting the watering problem, you also need to find ways to improve soil drainage.
When planting flowers, ensure you plant flower species that require similar conditions to thrive. This way, you won’t have some flowers thriving and others drooping because of varying sunlight and water requirements.
Be sure to check out my other article on how to revive dying flowers here: How to Revive Dying Flowers in a Garden (6 Methods)