Most keen gardeners will agree that there is nothing better than a garden in full bloom.
Whether it’s a cottage style front-yard of a landed property full of lavender and daisies or a small HDB balcony packed with pots, everyone loves big flashy flowers.
If this sounds like you, read on, because we’ve got some tips on how to make your flowers bloom faster and for longer.
Give your plants a good start
The best thing that you can do to make your plants flower sooner and for longer is to plant them in good soil. By providing good quality soil or potting mix you can ensure that your plants are in the best possible conditions for their root systems to fully develop.
Good soil health is so important to plant health, it really needs to be the first thing gardeners think about when planting up a garden bed.
Optimal garden soil should be rich in organic material. Organic material in your soil can be from the use of organic solid fertiliser, incorporating composts and manures, or from turning over gardens between seasons and working in leaf litter or the remains of annuals.
Good organic material will provide nutrients for plants as they break down but will also aid in moisture retention and drainage. It will also ensure your soil has a strong ecosystem with microorganisms and worms. These all combine to improve the structure of the soil.
You can improve your garden soil before planting out a garden bed by working through composts, manures, or worm castings.
You can also use a specific soil conditioner or improvers like the Arktivate solid bio-fertiliser or a simple wetting agent and seaweed extract.
Incorporating these into your soil at the start is a great first step in getting your plants to flower.
Planting location and timing
It should go without saying, but if you’re sowing seeds, or planting up in pots or beds that don’t get the correct amount of sunlight, you’re not going to get good flowers.
It also makes sense that if you’re pruning your shrubs when they’re full of developing buds, you probably won’t get a lot of flowers either.
Planting your plants in the right place, and doing things at the right time of year is a really easy way to ensure good blooms.
Getting the correct light levels is extremely important for flower production. Plants will convert sunlight to energy through photosynthesis, which they use to develop and set flower buds.
Conversely, too much sun on a shade-loving plant can physically burn the leaves. This means that photosynthesis can be impacted, and energy production reduced.
Where you plant other plants can also impact your blooms.
By using companion planting you can clump plants that work together to help you get the best out of your garden. This could be through deterring pests and attracting beneficial insects or fixing nitrogen in the soil.
Remember, flowers are a part of a plant’s reproductive cycle, and they don’t tend to want to reproduce if conditions aren’t favourable.
If you’re growing flowering shrubs like gardenias, camelia, or azaleas that benefit from being pruned, knowing when you should prune is absolutely essential as well.
If you prune at the wrong time you risk physically cutting the buds that the plant has already set. Incorrectly timed heavy pruning can also encourage your plant to spend all its energy on putting on foliage growth in response, rather than developing flower buds.
Doing a little bit of research on when your favourite plants flower, and what their sun requirements are is incredibly beneficial in the long run. You can save on watering, pest control, and fertilising simply by planning out your garden better.
Without getting too heavy into botany, plants use certain nutrients and hormones when they develop flowers. These nutrients are potassium and phosphorus.
Phosphorous is used by plants in developing reproductive parts of the plant, like flowers.
Potassium is used by the plant to move sugars around and to thicken cell walls. Using potassium helps develop the quality of flowers and fruits already set.
To increase the numbers and quality of flowers on a plant, gardeners can increase the availability of these nutrients to their plants by adding fertiliser.
By applying the correct fertiliser blends at the right time, you can encourage more buds to develop, and improve the quality of your flowers as they begin to bloom.
Types of fertiliser to do this.
There are two main types of fertiliser you can use to get better flowers: Inorganic and Organic. They differ in what they do and how often you should use them.
Inorganic fertilisers are products that are man-made. They come as liquids, granules, or powders that you can dissolve in water.
By using inorganic fertilisers a gardener can drill right down to the specific nutrients they want to apply to their plants. They also make things easier when sold as specific plant blends that have been tweaked to suit really specific situations. However, they come with a risk of overdose and consequently burning the flowers.
Organic fertilisers, on the other hand, are fertilisers where the nutrients have been created by an organic process. These include products like compost, manure, worm castings, or decomposed seaweed concentrate.
They’re not as fast at providing specific nutrients, and on a weight-for-weight basis, they don’t generally contain the same volume of nutrients as their inorganic counterparts.
Where organic fertilisers excel though is what else they contain. Generally, you’ll be getting plant nutrients, as well as enzymes and micro-organisms that just aren’t present in inorganic fertilisers. This creates a favourable environment for a creation of a micro-ecosystem that will sustain your plants for way longer.
You’ll also be getting a lot of organic material that is still yet to break down and release nutrients, so they actually feed plants for longer.
Organic fertiliser will often be a lot better for your overall garden and soil health, through the broad array of nutrients they contain and their ability to improve the soil health, through micro-organisms, and by improving soil structure.
When it comes to getting your flowers to bloom better and for longer, you should give your plants organic fertiliser that might not give as much of a nutrient boost, but improves the health of your entire garden, which achieves long-term results.
Wrapping it up
When it comes to making your flowers bloom more and for longer, the knee-jerk reaction is to go and pump fertilisers into your garden, which is not always the best solution.
With a bit of planning and research, you can do quite a lot to aid flowering without adding anything artificial to the soil.
Getting enough sun, having healthy soils, and pruning at the right time of year means your plants should be full of buds.
Once you’ve mastered these tricks, then you can reach for an organic fertiliser that contains ingredients to improve your soil as well as microbes to create an ecosystem, a good feed can do wonders for your flowers.