Milkweed Aren't Blooming

Flowers are the main draw of the Milkweed plant. Small flowers grow in tight clusters, creating a showy appearance that adds a burst of color to an outdoor space. The blooms also attract butterflies, so Milkweed is a popular choice for butterfly gardens and areas frequented by Monarch butterflies. It can be upsetting if your Milkweed is not flowering or the buds are not opening. Here are several reasons why your Milkweed plant isn’t blooming and common solutions.


Common Reasons Why Milkweed Isn’t Blooming

  1. Not Enough Light

Milkweed plants need full sunlight, which means at least 6 hours of light per day. Plants grown in partial light or shade will fail to thrive and may not bloom to their full potential if they bloom at all. Move the plant to an area that receives full sun, and the plant should bloom once it has acclimated.

  1. Improper Watering

While Milkweed is a laid-back plant, it is particular about the amount of water it needs. Too much or too little water can be damaging and may impact growth and blooming—water Milkweed plants when the top few inches of the soil are dry to the touch.

  1. Pruning

You won’t need your pruning shears until late in the growing season for Milkweed plants. Trimming the plant during the spring or summer may prevent the plant from blooming. Damaged growth can be cut away at any time, but it is generally not necessary to shape Milkweed plants. 

  1. Fertilizer

Rich soil high in organic content is enough to support Milkweed plants, and fertilizer is generally unnecessary. A single application of balanced, water-soluble plant food can help the plant start a solid growing season. Continued fertilizer applications or applying the incorrect type of fertilizer may prevent a Milkweed plant from blooming.

Pruning Milkweed To Help It Bloom

Pruning a Milkweed plant will not help the plant bloom. This plant does not need to be deadheaded, although it is common to remove spent flowers to prevent the plant from self-seeding. As an herbaceous perennial, Milkweed only blooms on new growth because all of the growth dies back each fall. Trimming the plant can reduce the number of flowers produced.


Fertilizing Milkweed To Help It Bloom

Milkweed plants can live well in poor-quality soil, and fertilizing is generally unnecessary. With that said, Milkweed plants do appreciate rich soil or a dose of balanced, water-soluble fertilizer in the spring. If your Milkweed plant is not blooming and has been fertilized or grown in rich soil, then fertilization is probably not the culprit. Be careful not to over-fertilize plants, which can be damaging. Fertilizers high in nitrogen encourage foliage growth at the expense of flowering, so only use balanced plant food for Milkweed.

Get Milkweed To Produce More Blooms

Flowering plants bloom when they receive ideal care and are not stressed. Plants that receive plenty of light and adequate water should bloom. Avoid pruning Milkweed because it may reduce flower production, and while this plant prefers rich soil, pay close attention to the type of fertilizer used. Improper fertilizer can prevent a plant from blooming.


Why Milkweed Isn’t Blooming

  • Not enough sunlight
  • Improper watering
  • Heavy pruning
  • Too much fertilizer or a fertilizer high in nitrogen
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 Author Alison Cotsonas - Published 07-08-2022