5 Reasons Why Your Lavatera Might Not Flowering (Mallow)
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You have heard the praises that Lavatera shrubs attract through their beautiful blooms and lush foliage. You go ahead and plant them but, what if they do not bloom as expected? You will find yourself asking “Why is my lavatera not flowering?” and without any information to go on, this can be a frustrating situation and one that is probably more common than you think.
In general, Lavatera will flower with no issues but there are a few things to watch out for that do seem to reduce blooms.
Before you get stressed out, I will help you boil down the root cause by telling you the most common reasons as to why your Lavatera might not be flowering at all or producing very few flowers.
Not getting enough sun can cause a lack of Lavatera flowers
Lavatera will thrive in full sun or partial sunlight but if they receive very little sunlight, for example, if they are planted in a shaded spot, the blooms may be very poor and sometimes they might not flower at all.
Plants absorb the sun’s energy to make food and grow. If they receive little sunlight, there are few resources in circulation to fund a flowering expedition. To combat this, place your Lavatera where they can absorb at least six hours of direct sunlight.
In general, they prefer a sunny position and will often grow well in a little shade as long as they get some source of light, such as the afternoon sun.
Frost damage to Lavatera buds can reduce flowering
It is crucial to let the plants harden off before introducing them to outdoor conditions, this is especially true for young plants that have been growing indoors. This is also especially for those living in cold areas with chilly winds. Allowing the plants to harden is the best way of increasing their chances of surviving frost damage.
If your plant suffers from frost damage, give it time to recover. Add small amounts of fertiliser to the soil to assist in recovery and wait until the new growth starts to emerge to prune. Those who live in areas with chilly winds should provide a more sheltered position away from the damaging winds.
Lack of pruning or doing so at the wrong time of year
Pruning is a necessary evil if you want your plants to keep a decent aesthetic and continue to grow healthily. If you prune too late, you may cut off the following season’s buds by mistake and if you prune too early, you risk removing the current season’s buds that are to bloom that year. Furthermore, by pruning early, the plant will be forced to redirect its energy on recovery, thus paying attention to timing is vital.
Lavatera can survive severe pruning but it will take time to recover. In the next flowering season after a hard prune, the plant may produce few blooms or not bloom at all. Give the plant enough nutrients to recover and be patient; they will bloom again.
You can learn more about how to prune lavatera in this guide here
Low feed value in the soil or too many nutrients forcing green growth but no flowers
Together with plenty of sunshine, Lavatera needs nutrients to grow healthy. Soil that lacks the basic nutrients end up stressing the plant and affects its vigour to fight off diseases or produce flowers. I always recommend adding some good quality compost or manure to the soil before planting new plants, this way, they will get all the goodness they need. If your Lavatera is established, feed with a general feed in spring and every couple of weeks in the summer.
While inadequate nutrients are an issue, soil oversaturated with nutrients is not good either, this is usually caused by overfeeding certain fertilisers that encourage green growth. If the plant shows no signs of dehydration, pest or diseases, the issue might be the soil. Conduct a soil test and figure a way forward once you have the results. Generally, it is feeds that are high in nitrogen that cause the issue, a general feed or even a tomato feed once they come into flower will do the trick.
Read next: How to take semi-softwood cutting from Lavatera to propagate new plants
Not enough water
During longer periods of no rain, especially when the temperatures are high, plants get stressed and struggle to retain moisture. If the plants are unable to access water due to drought, they will not bloom. In fact, the plants may dispense of the buds or display the blooms early to save on water. To prevent this situation water your Lavatera often, especially when it is hot or when growing them in pots.
Learn more about how to grow Lavatera mallow bushes here
Now that you have an idea of what the problem might be, it should be easier to find a solution. Take your time as these problems cannot be rectified in a second.
Find a viable solution to the main cause and wait for the next flowering season to notice any significant changes in blooming.
Learn why the Lavatera Baby Barnsley is this the best variety for containers in my guide here