Every plant parent’s dream is to have beautiful, photogenic, blooming potted flowers in their home or gardens. But having gorgeous photo-worthy blooms takes patience, time, effort, and luck. If your potted plant isn’t blooming or the flowers aren’t what you were hoping for, you might be wondering what exactly you’re doing wrong.
Here are seven reasons why your potted flowers aren’t blooming:
- Too much or too little watering
- Insufficient sunlight
- Lack of nutrients
- Root bound
- Improper pruning
Let’s take a deeper look at these 7 reasons why your potted plants aren’t blooming and a few tips to get them back on track.
1. Too Much or Too Little Watering
All plants need water to photosynthesize or produce their own food in order to grow. However, there is such a thing as giving a plant too much water.
Plants grown in containers or pots are usually at an increased risk of overwatering than garden plants. This is because once overwatered, the excess water will remain clogged in the pot as it has nowhere to go until it dries naturally or is absorbed by the plant.
Instead, the water sits in contact with the roots in the pots, and over time, the roots begin to rot, and eventually, this will kill the plant.
If a plant has been overwatered, you have to act quickly.
One way to fix the issue is to carefully tip out as much of the water as you can and then place the potted plant in a warm, drier environment for a day or so to try and dry the soil out. This might mean moving an indoor plant outdoors for a while.
The stress caused by over or underwatering can affect a plant negatively. Blooms cost the most energy for a plant to produce, and only plants in optimal conditions will be able to spare the energy to grow beautiful flowers. Keep this in mind when caring for your plants.
To stay on track of your plant’s watering needs, it’s best to create a watering schedule or keep track of watering through an app or calendar alerts if needed.
2. Insufficient Sunlight
Just like all plants need water to grow, they also need sun. Some plants require more sun than others, and it’s important to give plants exactly the amount they need.
Indoor plants that require full sun need to be in very sunny window sills or supplemented with a grow light. Plants that need partial sun or shade still need light, just not as much of it.
If you notice your plant is developing darker leaves and doesn’t have any flowers, it could be a sign that it needs more light.
Move the plant to a sunnier location or supplement it with a grow light to see if the leaves will brighten and consequently set the stage for the emergence of buds.
3. Lack of Nutrients
While plants primarily need sun and water to grow, they also need trace minerals. Flowering plants in particular need specifically tailored fertilizer mixes to support strong, healthy leaves and blooms.
You’ll notice three different numbers on the package when purchasing these fertilizers. The numbers indicate the percentage of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potash contained in the fertilizer. Different concentrations of each nutrient support the plant in different ways.
Most plants do well with a 5-5-5 mix, but if you notice that your plant isn’t blooming, you might consider a fertilizer with a higher phosphorus content. Most of these mixes are specific labels for big blooms.
When applying the fertilizer, follow the directions on the package for proper concentrations. Some fertilizers need to be diluted in water, while others can be applied directly to the soil.
4. Root Bound
Potted Plants run the risk of becoming root-bound. This means that the plant has grown to a point where its root system needs to expand to keep the plant healthy – but because of the size of the pot, it has simply run out of room.
Plants that are rootbound will experience droopy-looking leaves, lack of blooms, and appear dull and sickly.
Based on your plants, it is recommended that you either prune them to maintain their sizes or repot them into larger pots as time goes on.
When repotting a plant that has become root bound, it’s essential to take care when handling the roots as these can quickly become damaged in the transplanting phase. Replace the soil with fresh soil, and add a root stimulator to support vigorous plant growth in the future.
To avoid repotting plants frequently, it is highly advisable to choose the right-sized pots for your plants. If your plant is the type to grow tall, it’s best to choose a relatively larger pot that can accommodate its size, as frequent repotting might stress out the plant and result in wilting.
5. Improper Pruning
If you don’t want to repot your plant often, you can also prune it to keep it smaller and limit growth. However, pruning can be tricky, especially if you cut off too much or the wrong spots.
It’s possible that if you recently pruned your plant, you might have cut off parts of the plant that would’ve developed into buds and blooms.
When pruning your plant, make sure you scrutinize the plant carefully to ensure you aren’t cutting off parts of the plant you want to keep- like the flowers!
Pruning a plant carelessly or using dirty tools can introduce disease to the plant. The pruning process can also stress the plant out and make it susceptible to pests.
Considering plant type is also important as pruning in too cold or hot weather can have adverse outcomes. As such, it’s highly recommended that you research before taking shears to the plant.
There are many videos online that offer great support on how to prune. If you’re entirely new to pruning, this video has some great info to get you started:
If in doubt, don’t cut the plant. Instead, let the plant grow out and attempt to prune later in the year or when you have more knowledge about how to prune the plant correctly. You can also request an experienced family member, friend or neighbor to prune the plant as you learn.
If you’re noticing that everything else seems to be in order with your plant in terms of water, nutrients, and amount of sun, it is possible that your plant might have an infestation.
While a wide range of pests can infect a plant, the good news is that some of the most common are also some of the most easily identified. Even better, potted indoor flowers are less susceptible to pests like those in the garden.
Caterpillars and beetle larvae are some of the most common pests that can harm flowering plants, often feasting on plants’ new shoots and buds. As a general rule, insects with jaws tend to munch on plant parts and can cause massive damage if not controlled early enough.
While these critters can cause damage to your plants, they are also a vital part of the ecosystem, so try and consider options that protect your plant and the pest.
Options can include pest deterrents instead of insecticides, physically removing the pests, or using organic pest sprays.
7. Temperature and Season
Some plants will only bloom in spring, others only in summer. Some plants are all-year bloomers. Bloom timing is a trait adapted for pollinators so that not all flowers are out simultaneously.
Expecting blooms in the wrong season might be why your plant isn’t flowering.
Understanding bloom season will help you identify whether or not your plant is experiencing some kind of stress or if it just needs more time to flower.
Inconsistent temperatures can also affect a plant’s flowering schedule. Colder temperatures in summer or hotter temperatures in spring can cause late or early blooming, so be aware if there are no other problems with your plant.
If unsure when your plant is expected to flower, most flowering plants come with a tag at the nursery that explains when to expect blooms. However, if you don’t have this information, you can always research more on the internet.