It is disappointing when a plant flowers for just a day or two and that’s it, the flowering is over. If it is a productive plant it is more than disappointing, it may mean your plant doesn’t crop.

Good flowering usually comes down to a combination of factors. The plant needs to be growing in the right location, have the right amount of nutrients and water and get the climatic conditions it likes.

As well, the lifespan of a flower varies from species to species. Some flowers are long-lasting (for example waratahs and carnations), while others are short lived (for example a daylily or night-flowering cactus). Where a flower is built to last for only a day the plant usually produces a succession of flowers so that flowering can last for weeks, if not months, even if individual flowers are short lived.

Extending flowering

Here are tips to get the best flowering from garden plants.

  • Right amount of sunlight. Sun-loving plants growing in the shade often flower poorly. To get more flowers, expose the plant to more light by pruning away overhanging branches or moving the plant to a sunnier location. Roses often flower poorly if they are growing in a spot that’s become too shaded.
  • All plants need nutrients to flower. Applying a liquid fertiliser formulated for flowering and fruiting, like Amgrow Nutrafeed Flower and Fruit Booster, can provide the get up and go a plant needs to flower better. Potash in particular is often included in flower-boosting fertilisers. Plants that repeat flower over many months usually benefit from additional fertiliser during the flowering season such as slow-release product for flowering plants like Amgrow Ferticote or mulch enriched with well-rotted manure and spread around the root system.
  • Water well. Water is vital for flowering. Plants that are drought-stressed may not flower or the flowers may be smaller than normal or not last. Water plants thoroughly and regularly when they are in bud and bloom. Concentrate the water around the roots rather than wetting flowers and foliage. Apply a soil-wetting agent if the water is not soaking into the soil.
  • Hard pruning. Removing old, congested and non-flowering branches encourages new growth and can reinvigorate a plant and improve flowering. Sometimes a hard prune delays flowering for a season but has long-term benefit. Overgrown azaleas, tibouchinas and many native plants such as grevilleas for example benefit from a hard prune in mid to late spring. To do this, prune about a third of the growth, wait for new growth to occur and then prune more. Don’t hard prune in summer.
  • Tip pruning. Removing the growing tip encourages side shoots, which can lead to increased flowers. Tip pruning delays flowering but the new growth encouraged means more flowers overall. Fuchsias and many annuals respond to tip pruning with better flowering and more compact growth.
  • Picking flowers or removing spent flowers encourages more flowers. This is because a plant is flowering to produce seeds. If the flower is snipped off before seeds form, the plant will continue to form flowering growth and keep on blooming. Deadheading encourages continued flowering in most annuals, perennials and repeat-flowering shrubs.
  • Protection from extremes leads to more flowers and longer lasting blooms. Flowers are likely to be short lived if they are exposed to extremely hot weather, heavy wind or rain. On heatwave days, protect heat-sensitive blooms such as hydrangeas with shadecloth or other temporary shade. As well as considering direct sun, also protect plants from reflected heat.

Pictured - African Daisies