Hibiscus Aren't Blooming

Depending on the variety and location, Hibiscus normally bloom from mid to late summer, and once these perennial shrubs start flowering, they put on a display. The large flowers feature vibrant colors, and each bloom typically lasts 1 to 2 days. Expect several rounds of flowers, and as one bloom dies back, a new bud will begin to open, creating the look of a consistently blooming plant.

Since the flowers are what draw most people to Hibiscus, it can be disappointing if the buds do not open or if the plant does not flower. Find out what can stop a Hibiscus from flowering and how to get your plant blooming. 


Common Reasons Why Hibiscus Aren’t Blooming

Hibiscus can be relatively easy-going plants, but they still like certain conditions. If anything about their environment or care changes, it may delay or prevent the plant from blooming.

  1. Too Much Shade

Lots of direct light promotes blooms, so if a Hibiscus is planted in a shady spot, or if something changes, like maybe you built a shed that casts a shadow or a nearby tree put on some height, that can impact the plant. Hibiscus need at least 6 hours of sunlight a day. If your plant is not getting that, relocating it to a sunnier area may be necessary.

  1. Water Stress

The amount of water a Hibiscus receives or doesn’t receive can impact whether or not it blooms. Hibiscus plants have high water needs, and established plants like water on a somewhat routine schedule. A Hibiscus may not bloom if it goes for an extended time without water. On the other hand, too much water can be equally disruptive, and the flowers, buds, or leaves may drop off an overwatered Hibiscus.

Check on the plant every couple of days during the summer and water when the soil is mostly dry but still a bit damp. Hibiscus plants do not like to dry out completely. 

  1. Too Much Feeding

Fertilizer can help a Hibiscus thrive, and it can just as easily stop it from flowering. Hibiscus usually does well with a fertilizer with a 12-4-8 ratio, so the plant does well with increased levels of Nitrogen and Potassium. However, too much Nitrogen can force the plant to focus on foliage growth instead of pushing out flowers. If the plant looks very lush and healthy, but there are no flowers, you may want to scale back on Nitrogen and try a different fertilizer ratio. 

  1. Rootbound

Potted plants may not bloom if they are rootbound or kept in a container that is too small. Rootbound plants may experience stunted growth, and they may not develop any flower buds. Upgrading to a container a few inches larger in diameter can give the roots the space they need and help the plant bloom. 

Does Pruning Hibiscus Help Them Bloom

Pruning a Hibiscus that is not blooming may help it bloom, but this is a long-term strategy. Older plants with a lot of wood growth and an overgrown appearance may benefit from more severe pruning. Cut back all the dead growth or branches that have sparsely spaced leaves. If you opt for a major trim, leave at least 1 foot of growth.

Usually, you don’t want to remove more than one-third of a plant while pruning, but if the plant is not blooming, this extreme measure may help it bounce back for future growing seasons.

Does Fertilizing Hibiscus Help Them Bloom

A Hibiscus might not bloom or bloom as much if the plant receives too much Nitrogen. Hibiscus generally does well with higher Nitrogen levels, but if the threshold is met, it can stop the plant from blooming. A soil test can determine if Nitrogen is the culprit, and you can adjust your fertilizing technique accordingly.

How Do I Get Hibiscus To Produce More Blooms

Encourage more blooms on a hibiscus by providing ideal conditions. When the plant receives the optimal light, water, and humidity, it will be healthy, happy, and more likely to bloom. Test the soil to determine what you’re working with and select a fertilizer to complement the soil and promote blooms.

Why Aren't Hibiscus Blooming

  • Plant is rootbound
  • Not enough direct sunlight
  • Not feeding or improper fertilizer ratio
  • Inconsistent watering
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 Author Alison Cotsonas - Published 14-12-2021