The joy of blooming houseplants is always special. It is mixed with a sense of a little miracle and pride, because even the simplest plants have flowering as a kind of reward for patience, the right care and the right conditions. To achieve the setting of flower buds, the development of buds and their blooming at home, you need to create a really comfortable environment for the plants. And much can interfere with their flowering. How great are the expectations, just as bitter and disappointment, if the long-awaited flowering does not come, and the buds are crumbling before our eyes … And most often the reasons for the lack of flowering are very similar even in the most different plants.
10 common houseplant flowering problems and solutions
Some plants bloom, it would seem, almost by themselves, others require very strict adherence to temperature recommendations at different stages of development, and still others require extremely complex care. But the flowering of all indoor plants is determined by whether they were provided with conditions corresponding to the growing season.
Light, food, water, soil and heat are “responsible” for the normal development of plants and for their flowering. And if deviations and errors in leaves are not always visible, and some species are able to withstand almost extreme conditions, flowering is extremely sensitive to inadequacy of conditions and a lack (or excess) of attention.
Typical houseplant flowering problems are always the same. From the lack of flowering at all to the dropping of buds and already blossoming flowers, they always testify to our own mistakes.
Identifying the problem that led to the flowering problems is not always easy. And in order not to miss anything important, you need to analyze step by step, parameter by parameter, how the conditions and care of your plant relate to the standard – the basic requirements of a particular species. Eliminating all inconsistencies is the only way to solve problems and prevent them from occurring in the future.
Of course, both pests and diseases can lead to difficulties with flowering. But this is more a matter of saving the plant, when you need to think about health, and not about flowers. And the appearance of pests and diseases is most often associated with unfavorable factors that made the plant more vulnerable, so the analysis will never be superfluous.
Let’s take a look at the top ten blooming problems, the factors that most often cause them – and how to fix them?
1. Lack of flowering
The most obvious reason indoor plants do not bloom is when temperatures do not match their requirements during dormancy and preparation for flowering. Not all plants require cool wintering, but nevertheless, each species has certain preferences for temperature conditions and care at the stage of their dormancy. And if they are not observed, it is difficult to count on flowering.
Indoor plants may not bloom completely for other reasons:
- overfeeding or insufficient feeding;
- lack of light;
- insufficient air humidity;
- planting in a pot that is too spacious or not replanting when needed (roots appear in drainage holes).
Rearranging to a more illuminated place, adjusting watering and feeding, controlling air humidity, transplanting into pots and soil suitable for this type, will fix everything in time and prevent the deterioration of the plant’s condition.
2. Delayed flowering during stormy vegetation
Excess nitrogen stimulates the growth of greenery to the detriment of flowering. If larger leaves grow, the plant develops rapidly, and flowering is delayed even if the dormant period is observed, the reason is always in the imbalance of nutrients. It is better to stop fertilizing for a while or carry out fertilizers with a reduced content or exclusion of nitrogen.
Read also our article Why do the tips of leaves in indoor plants dry?
3. Poor flowering, few buds
Violations of the dormant period sometimes lead not to a complete lack of flowering, but to the release of only a few flowers instead of the expected “cloud”. But other factors can also serve as the reason for poor flowering:
- low air humidity;
- insufficient lighting;
- overfeeding of plants.
It will not be superfluous to increase the humidity of the air using at least pallets with wet sphagnum. How to check the dosage and frequency of feeding. But if the problem is in lighting, you should either rearrange the plant, or start lighting it up. And next year, the conditions during the dormant period should be given increased attention.
4. Poor flowering when growth stops and leaves turn yellow
Stopping growth, the gradual manifestation of chlorosis with poor flowering is a typical problem that accompanies watering with insufficiently soft water in sensitive plants, especially Saintpaulias, begonias, rhododendrons and indoor hydrangeas. If you control the water quality, you should suspect a lack of iron, magnesium or manganese (the lack of the latter is complemented by the thickening of the edges of the leaves, their fragility).
How to solve a problem:
- use soft, rain or melt water;
- replace simple universal fertilizers with suitable preparations for a specific type with the correct balance of macro- and microelements;
- apply mono fertilizers – salts of iron, magnesium and manganese;
- adjust the frequency of feeding.
5. Shedding flowers and buds without visible damage to the leaves
Abrupt shedding of “healthy” buds and flowers, as well as leaves without yellowing or wilting, always indicate unexpected changes in conditions and severe stress:
- hypothermia or strong drafts;
- complete drying out of the soil;
- improper transportation after purchase, moving to a new house with radically different conditions;
- abrupt rearrangement to a new location;
- turning the plant in relation to the light source;
- proximity to a battery or air conditioner, too dry for this type of air.
Sometimes, by shedding flowers, they react to a lack of resources of plants for which the pot has become too cramped or do not feed at all.
The dropping of buds and flowers is much easier to prevent, and if it has already begun – to slow down and save at least some of the flowers. Plants need protection from drafts, enhanced care and a soft transition, at least a few days of imitation of the previous or greenhouse conditions – shading from direct sun, tracking the position of the crown, increasing air humidity, protection from any extremes in watering.
Pests should not be ruled out either. A close inspection will help identify traces and start insecticide treatment in a timely manner.
6. Drying of buds on a gradually drying out bush
The gradual death of buds can also be observed when damaged by leaf nematodes, and as a result, the death of the entire plant. It is possible to suspect these pests when gradually whitening light spots appear on the greenery, the apical buds dry out, part of the shoots and leaves are deformed, and they become smaller, which are not explained by other reasons. Unfortunately, it is impossible to fight this pest. Plants will have to be destroyed along with the substrate, and the pots will have to be carefully processed.
7. Brown spots on buds, flowers, pedicels, wilting and drying of some flowers
Brown spots that eventually become covered with a gray bloom on all parts of the plant, including buds and flowers, are evidence of the spread of rot. If part of the leaves and peduncles begins to quickly brown and dry out, softened spots appear on the shoots, the leaves fall off, it is worth suspecting root damage. And urgently check the condition of the soil (dampness, unpleasant odor, mold are suspicious). You can fully check the condition of the roots only when transplanting or at least removing from the pot for assessment (without changing the container). Brownish, rotten roots with a pink or white bloom require immediate action.
How to solve this problem:
- carefully remove or wash off the soil from the roots, cutting out all damaged parts;
- disinfect the roots in a solution of fungicides and treat the wounds with crushed coal;
- plant the plant in a disinfected substrate and water it very carefully, carefully observing.
Severely affected plants will have to be destroyed.
If everything is in order with the roots, it may be a combination of insufficient lighting and excessive fertilizing (especially in winter), too high air humidity in violation of air circulation, which led to the spread of gray rot of the aerial parts of the plant without damaging its roots.
8. Light, brown or yellowish spots of different sizes on the petals
Typically, such brown marks or burns appear on flowers and buds after spraying, especially in direct sunlight. Sometimes the spots can indicate thrips or scale insects, so it’s always worth taking a close look at the plants. If there is any suspicion, it is better to perform unnecessary prophylaxis in the form of a systemic insecticide treatment than to allow the insects to spread and cause more damage.
Read also our article How to get rid of thrips on indoor plants?
9. Rapid wilting of flowers
If the long-awaited flowers last only a couple of days instead of the expected weeks, they crumble very quickly, any big problems with care and temperatures could lead to a problem:
- lack of phosphorus and feeding in general;
- overflow or drying out of the soil;
- too high temperatures at the budding stage;
- lack of light.
Sometimes the rapid wilting of flowers can also cause improper soil acidity, an inadequacy of the soil composition to the requirements of the plant species, but usually there will be signals from leaves and shoots in the beginning.
Quite different reasons lead to the fact that the flowers wither, and not fully open. The fall of the slightly opening buds causes an excess of fertilizers, an excess of the permissible concentration of fertilizing, and extremely dry air. The solution to both problems is simple – you need to stop feeding for a while, increase the frequency of spraying, or install a tray with wet pebbles.
10. Drawing flower arrows with light stripes, marble patterns on the leaves
Tulips, crocuses, daffodils, hyacinths, chrysanthemums and other garden plants (bulbs and some perennials) have patterns and a stunted appearance with small flowers indicate a mosaic virus. Unfortunately, it will not be possible to cure such plants; the bushes will have to be destroyed.