Light Needs of Plants

More Sun, More Flowers


The number one cause of plants not blooming is insufficient sunlight.

The number one treatment the average gardener applies to get plants to bloom is adding fertilizer. 

Can you see the conflict?

If a plant you grow is not blooming, or not blooming as much as you want, the first thing to do is to cut out some overhanging branches or remove dense vegetation around it so its leaves receive more light. Better yet, move it to a sunnier spot. Sunlight is energy and stimulates flowering. 

What about fertilizer then? 

If there is a lack of minerals in the soil, fertilizer may help stimulate bloom … but only if the plant is getting the right light. 

So, gardeners, get your priorities in order. Improve the lighting conditions first, then if you think the plant could bloom better, you could try adding fertilizer. But start with light! 

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

1 comment on “More Sun, More Flowers

  1. Some rhododendrons get slight foliar burn if they get enough sunlight to bloom to their full potential. On the farm, we grew a few cultivars out in the open, but with retractable saran to pull over them on the warmest days. It was a hassle, but made the plants more marketable, with abundant buds, and no foliar burn. Some of the cymbidiums that bloom best have slightly damaged foliage from getting all the sunlight they want; and they do not even need all that much.

Leave a Reply

Sign up for the Laidback Gardener blog and receive articles in your inbox every morning!

%d bloggers like this: