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Why isn’t My Houseplant Flowering?

Some houseplants produce flowers more easily than others, and some do not produce flowers at all. Houseplants may not flower for a few different reasons. They may be getting too much water—or not enough. They may be getting too much light—or not enough. Thus, if you want to know why isn’t your houseplant flowering, you need to look at the type of houseplant, its recent growth, and your plant care practices.

Many types of houseplants only produce flowers when they are strong and healthy from the right growing conditions. Other houseplants also need light and temperature cues to trigger their natural growth and flowering cycle. Some plants need reduced light exposure (photoperiodism) and/or slightly colder temperatures (vernalization) that mimic winter and prepare the plant to flower during the ensuing spring and summer. Some houseplants, like the Christmas cactus, use a combination of photoperiodism and vernalization to trigger a new bloom cycle.

Some houseplants are also more likely to produce flowers when stressed in some way. It’s believed the plant starts working overtime to produce flowers that can create the next generation of plants. Before trying this approach, we generally recommend making sure a houseplant has ideal growing conditions and plenty of healthy foliage but still won’t flower. We also recommend learning more about why specific types of houseplants may not be flowering.

Why Different Types of Houseplants Do and Do Not Flower

Peace Lily

The most common complaint against peace lilies is that they have beautiful, white flowers in the store that are never seen again when you take the plant home. The peace lily can be forced to show its spathe and spadix blossom, but only under ideal growing conditions. This includes plenty of indirect light in a north- or east-facing window or with filtered light. The peace lily likes plenty of water compared to most houseplants, though it is quick to bounce back. Plus, its large, droopy leaves make it easy to tell when it needs water. So long as it’s not too drafty, being a few degrees colder in the winter can help mimic its natural growing conditions and help produce flowers. Finally, it’s best to fertilize or amend the soil in the early spring to promote new growth and flowers in the late spring and summer. Some of the success also depends on the individual grower and source. Some peace lily cultivars flower more easily than others.

Anthuriums and angel wing begonias are other good examples of popular houseplants that need ideal growing conditions in order to produce flowers.

Cactus

In contrast to peace lilies which are forced to bloom by the growers and then may struggle to do so at home, cacti are often sold without flowers in bloom. That’s because many types of cactus do not flower until they are fully mature plants. For some species, this can mean a few years. For others, it can mean a few decades. The solution to getting a cactus to flower may simply be time and patience. That said, the cactus is also a houseplant that is much more likely to flower when given optimal growing conditions. With two main types of cactus, it’s important to know what your plant likes best. A desert cactus is more likely to thrive and bloom with plenty of sun and less frequent watering. A forest cactus is more likely to benefit from moderate watering and not too much direct sun.

Kalanchoe

Most every kind of plant uses exposure to natural light to determine the season, calibrate its growth, and decide how to expend its energy. For some plants, like the kalanchoe, this photoperiodism is expressed in their ability or inability to flower. The kalanchoe plant typically has plenty of flowers with blooms that may last for months. If the plant isn’t producing new flowers, it could be poor growing conditions, but it’s just as likely that you’re not giving the plant long enough periods of darkness. These plants usually need around 12-14 hours of darkness to trigger a new bloom cycle. This includes most types of artificial light. Keep the plant in a room where you don’t spend late evenings or early morning with the light on, and you should be good to go.

African violets and poinsettas are also very popular houseplants that may require up to 8 and 14 hours, respectively, to stimulate new flowers.

The Best Houseplants for Flowering

Are you looking for a houseplant with plenty of colorful flowers? Along with the plants already mentioned, we recommend checking out different varieties of orchids, cyclamen, amaryllis, geraniums, flowering jasmine, flowering maple, and primroses.

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