Healthy plants produce flowers that get pollinated by bees, bats, and wind. Those pollinated flowers turn into the lion’s share of why we garden.
Plants that are too young (or too old) will not produce flower buds. Most annual plants start flower production once temperatures and leaf growth have provided enough resources. Perennial plants, such as fruit trees, can take a few years of root development before producing flowers. In both cases, some growers remove the earliest flower buds to promote further root development before allowing the plant to produce a crop.
Plants too old to produce are best replaced with something new, while young plants need more growing time.
Too much or too little food can eliminate flower production in the garden. Excessive amounts of nitrogen make plants produce lots of leaves but little or no flowers. Not enough nitrogen, phosphorus, or potassium can also delay flowering. An inexpensive lab-based soil test is the only way to know what is in your soil.
Different plants have different sun exposure needs. Raspberries exposed to scorching afternoon sun will put all their energy into recovering from sunburn rather than producing delicious berries. Plants that need lots of sunlight do not generate enough sugar to make flowers if planted in a shady corner.
Prune too much, too little, too soon, too late, or in the wrong place, and flower production can be reduced or eliminated. Plants pruned too heavily may not have the resources needed to generate flowers. Each species has unique pruning needs. Generally speaking, it is better to wait until after flower and fruit production or until plants enter dormancy before any significant pruning occurs. Did you know that young walnut trees produce almost all of their flowers on the ends of long stems? Cut those off, and you will have an attractive little tree and no walnuts. Learn more about production pruning to ensure you are giving your plants the care they need.
Sudden low or high temperature shifts can trick plants into halting flower production. A late frost can also kill flower buds before they emerge. Seeds planted too early in the season will use up too many nutrients to get started to have enough energy for flowers. Some plants require a minimum of chill hours before flower production begins. If winter is too mild, there may be no flowers the following spring.
Planting at the right time of year, in an appropriate location, and providing proper care can boost flower production and your harvests.
You can grow a surprising amount of food in your own yard. Ask me how!
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