The hallmark of Potentilla is the semi-double blooms, commonly in white, yellow, or pink hues. This cold-hardy, mounded shrub starts to bloom in the spring and will continue to push out lovely blooms until the fall. Potentilla is known for being easy to care for, but your plant may need some extra attention if you notice the plant is not setting buds or if the buds are not opening. We explain what you need to know to get your Potentilla to bloom and how to care for the plant long-term to ensure continued flowers every summer.
Common Reasons Why Potentilla Isn’t Blooming
Potentillas are not very fussy, but this plant still has particular needs that must be addressed if you want to enjoy the blooms. Fortunately, only a few issues will prevent the plant from blooming.
Potentilla needs partial to full sunlight. At least 4 to 6 hours of light is enough to support healthy growth. Plants only bloom when they are healthy, and all of their needs are met, so plants that do not receive enough light may not bloom. Moving the plant to a sunnier location will normally solve the issue.
Potentilla plants grow in the summer and can handle warm temperatures, but extreme heat can be a lot for these plants. Plants grown in areas that receive afternoon sun may drop their flowers in response to the heat. Moving the plant to an area that receives the more gentle morning sun and afternoon shade will solve this issue.
At 1 to 2 feet tall and wide, Potentilla is not a very large plant, but it still needs some space. Plants grown in containers may become rootbound. This is when the roots do not have enough space to spread out. Switch out the container for a larger pot, and the plant should start to set buds in a couple of weeks.
If the plant looks healthy but is not setting very many buds, it could be because the plant is supporting old growth that will not bloom and does not have the energy to create new growth. Potentilla plants bloom on new growth. Cutting back old growth will force the plant to redirect energy into new stems and branches that will support flowers.
While Potentilla plants are not heavy feeders, they still benefit from nutritional help. Top-dress the soil with compost or mulch to encourage new and healthy growth. Application of a balanced fertilizer in the spring will set the plants up for success. If you did fertilize your Potentilla and you’re still not enjoying flowers, double-check the fertilizer formula. Potentilla needs balanced plant food, and fertilizers that are not balanced, especially varieties high in nitrogen, may prevent the plants from blooming.
Pruning Potentilla To Help It Bloom
Pruning is one of the easiest ways to encourage a Potentilla to bloom. This plant only blooms on new growth, so trimming old growth will encourage the plant to push out new branches, which means more flowers. Pruning Potentilla in the spring before the leaves start to appear is ideal. You can trim the plants again around mid-summer if they begin to look overgrown or unkempt.
Fertilizing Potentilla To Help It Bloom
Potentilla is not a heavy feeder, but this plant does prefer fertile soil. Plants grown in high-quality soil usually do very well during the growing season, but applying fertilizer can also help. A balanced fertilizer applied during the spring will support new growth and plenty of flowers. Fertilizers high in nitrogen support more abundant foliage growth at the expense of flowers, so always use a balanced fertilizer for Potentilla.
Get Potentilla To Produce More Blooms
It can be disappointing when a reliable plant like Potentilla fails to bloom, but this is an easy problem to fix. You can get Potentilla to bloom by ensuring the plant receives at least 4 to 6 hours of sunlight. The plant will need to be pruned during the spring to remove old growth since this beauty blooms on new growth. It may not be necessary, but trim the plant again during mid-summer if it starts to look overgrown. A dose of fertilizer in the spring will also get this plant off to a good start.
Why Potentilla Isn’t Blooming
- Not enough light
- Too hot
- Not enough pruning
- Improper fertilizer