How to Get Houseplants to Bloom

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The best way to ensure your house plants will bloom is to care for them well.


Some plants, especially Hoya and Christmas cactus, will drop their buds/peduncles if you move them. I mean, move their position – you can move them to water them and stuff, but don’t change their position permanently.

My favourite blooming plant is my Hoya bella. She blooms every year like clockwork, and she gets more and more flowers every year

We love her.

Did I do anything special to cause this? Not that I know of. Can I take steps to ensure that I give my indoor plant everything it needs if it decides to bloom? Yup.

What’s the easiest way to make sure your plant blooms?

If you’re desperate for your plant to flower, pick a plant that will bloom easily. In my experience, my little carnivorous Sundew, some Cacti, Calathea, and Oxalis all bloomed without me doing anything out of the ordinary.

But in general, if you give your plants conditions under which they can thrive, they are most likely to produce blooms.

It’s worth bearing in mind though, that some plants simply can’t get everything that they require to bloom in an artificial environment. So short of moving to the rainforest, you’ll have to make do with foliage.

In the rest of this post, I’ll take you through 7 areas that you can look at that will help you encourage your plants to bloom: water, light, fertiliser, temperature, making the blooms last once you have them, buying plants in bloom, and artificial hormones.

House plants that bloom easily

Here are a list of plants that I have convinced to bloom. It’s not exhaustive, but it’s a few more common plants that will flower without you having to do anything other than care for them normally.

1. Spider plant

flowers on spider plants

Spider plants bloom prolifically if you let them. In late spring, they send out a long stem covered in spider plant babies and flowers.

spider plant flower

I actually ended up cutting them off, because the plantlets were weighing down the mother plant, plus she wasn’t growing (all the energy was going to the babies) so off they went.

I didn’t do anything special other than water when she was dry, fertiliser every other time I watered, and kept her in a warm, bright spot.

2. Hoya

Only my hoya bella blooms without fail, but I believe Hoya linearis also blooms quite easily.

hoya bella flower

Again, bright light (although north-facing is apparently plenty because that’s where mine is) and good care BUT I was told to miss a watering in a month or two prior to blooming (so as soon as the peduncles appear). I watered once a month rather than every other week and my bloom numbers were definitely up.

3. Maranta

Maranta bloom pretty easily, and look super cute:

maranta flower

4. Phalaenopsis orchid

I have tips, and they work. Look:

timeline of orchid bloom

What worked for me was removing all the substrate, putting her roots into a glass jar and soaking them roots for an hour every week. Every other week I’d add nutrients to the water.

5. Tradescantia nanouk

Tradescantia nanouk are incredibly easy to care for.

(And propagate, if you're looking for your first chop n prop project)

Mine was a gift and I swear it’s potted in dirt someone got from the ground. I put it right in a north-facing window and she blooms like a champ:

tradescantia nanouk flower

6. Peace lily

An oldie but a goodie. If you want blooms you need decent light (mine got a tonne of east light) and fertiliser every month.

peace lily in flower

7. Begonia

Different begonias bloom at different rates, but this little one I can’t remember the name of blooms ALL THE TIME.

How to care for a plant to help it flower

1 – Water

Watering requirements vary from plant to plant, so you’ll have to do your research on your individual plant to find out what it likes.

You won’t go far wrong if you obey these general rules:

  • Don’t under or over water 

Root health is EVERYTHING. Under or overwatering can cause the roots to die. Underwatered roots shrivel up and die, overwatered roots are depleted of oxygen and die.

Without roots your plant can’t absorb water and nutrients. It might not die, but it could go into survival mode, meaning no new growth for you, never mind flowers.

  • Ensure that your plant has adequate drainage

This is again about roots. No drainage can cause a build-up of water in the soil. Too much water leads to a lack of oxygen, which leads to root rot and plant death.

At the very least, you need holes in the bottom of your plant pot.

  • Water quality

Most of my plants are FINE with tap water. Our water quality in Yorkshire is fine for plants – if you happily can drink your tapwater, your plants probably can too.

Certain plants are known to be picky with tap water, BUT in my experience, that doesn’t affect blooms.

My variegated peace lily would definitely prefer rainwater, and she does get the odd brown leaf tip, but she definitely still blooms:

I’ve circled them because they’re blending in with the wallpaper -_-

  • Use room temperature water. 

This is a good tip for all plant carers, regardless of whether or not you’re bothered about blooms.

In summer, your plants may appreciate cool (NOT COLD) water, but in winter they’d like room temp or even lukewarm water. Cold water may cause your plant to go into shock and possibly die, hot water may cook your plant.

Orchids in particular, like tepid water.

  • Make sure your potting mix is holding the correct amount of water. 

You need to weigh up the requirements for your plant with your care routine.

For example, you might want to put a plant in a super chunky mix, because that’s what’s best for them BUT if you only get around to watering once a fortnight, your plant will dry out.

I like to go for a potting mix that hold about a week’s worth of water in summer (bear in mind I live in very un-sunny UK), so I add orchid bark to a terrarium mix and that works well for me. A lot of people like neat houseplant potting mix, other people like a super chunky mix that dries out every few days.

Just be reasonable about how much time you want to spend watering.

2 – Light

Blooming is energy-draining work, so your plant won’t bloom unless it’s getting plenty of light.

From what I’ve observed, long hours of soft light are preferable to shorter bursts of brighter light.

Save your south-facing windows for plants like Monstera and Fiddle Leaf fig, which will appreciate a tonne of light on their foliage.

East and north-facing light is great – preferably right in the window.

The exception to this is cacti and succulents, which are more likely to bloom in west-facing windows, where the light is bright and hot.

There are so many articles out there that give loads of examples of ‘low light’ plants, but there are very few plants out there that actively thrive in low light, so any plants you keep in lower light situations are unlikely to bloom.

Bright, indirect light is what most plants crave. Yes, even pothos.

If the whole topic of light tires you out, consider a grow light.

Light varies a LOT around the world. A LOT.

Grow lights throw out loads of light and a bit of warmth, but they don’t burn like the sun does.

I have the Mars Hydro 1000w and it’s INCREDIBLE. If you have a lot of flowering plants like orchids, I highly recommend you invest in one. They make a noticeable difference in days. The difference between professional grow lights and cheap grow lights is HUGE, and they’re not always that expensive. The Bestva 1000w is a nice in-between that yields really good results.

The light that grow lights emits contains the full spectrum of wavelengths that plants need. Did you know that plants require different wavelengths for different things?

Blue wavelength light affects chlorophyll production and leaf thickness, red wavelength light helps with their flowers, fruit, and foliage.

If we’re getting technical, plants don’t need very much green wavelength light – their chlorophyll reflects most of it (this why plants are green!) – but can be used in photosynthesis and flower development.

Grow lights don’t tend to contain green light because unless your plant is in a cupboard, it can get all it needs from the sun.

Red light encourages foliage, but too much (and not enough blue) can make plants grow too tall and block photosynthesis production. Too much blue light and not enough red can cause leaf malformation and for the plant not to grow very much.

UV light damages plants and can’t be used for photosynthesis. There is evidence from Leslie F. Halleck to suggest that small amounts of UV damage can trigger plants to produce antioxidants. If you’re interested in this kind of thing, Leslie has a book on it, called Gardening Under Lights.

Gardening under lights may or may not be on my Amazon wishlist, along with another of her books Plant Parenting.

3 – Fertiliser

I’ve had the most success with getting my houseplants to flower when I’ve been consistent with using a good quality, full spectrum fertiliser.

I use the General Hydroponics Flora Series, because I can use it in soil, leca, and water. I just add 1ml per litre of water.

I add nutrients every other or every third time I water. I tend to water more at the start of the growing season (I think I just get overexcited) and then it tapers off as we move through summer.

If your plants stop growing but nothing’s changed, then over-fertilising could be the culprit. Just lay off for a few weeks and they’ll start growing again.

maranta flower
cute little maranta bloom

4 – Temperature

Most tropical house plants don’t experience seasons like winter in the wild, but a lot of the ones that flower in our homes like a period of cooler temperatures before they bloom. Orchids, Christmas Cactus and Hoya all produce more blooms if they have a cold snap in winter.

Most of us don’t need to do anything to help this, since…winter happens but if your home is roasty toasty year round, then you may want to put them in a cooler room for a few months before spring.

Cacti also like a cold snap, and are waaay more likely to bloom if they’ve had a cold winter.

Bear in mind that very few tropical plants will survive a frost so don’t just toss them outside for winter.

How to make house plant blooms last longer

In all honesty, I had to google this. I’m so excited that my plant thought I was taking care of it well enough to bloom that I don’t do anything to make them last – I just enough them while they last.

But there are things you can do to make the plants last  longer:

  1. Keep pollinating insects away – the reason your plant bloomed was to attract pollinating insects. Once the bees (or whatever) have been, the flower has fulfilled its destiny and will die. I’m blessed to only get pollinating insects in my house by accident, but if any bees or butterflies come my way I catch them in a glass and take them outside. Butterflies will make a marked attempt to come back in though (they very much have a one track mind) so it’s perhaps a good idea to close the windows.
  2. Cut them off – I know it sounds counterintuitive, but some flowers, like amaryllis, will last much longer off the plant than on it. For one thing, the plant doesn’t actually care about looking pretty past pollination, and for another we can do things to preserve flowers (like put a bit of bleach or dish soap in the water) that would kill a live plant.
  3. Buy plants in bloom – if you’re desperate for flowers but aren’t bothered about foliage (or indeed caring for the plant after it’s bloomed) then buy an orchid, or a lily or one of those mini rose things from the supermarket that’s already got a flower on it.

If you don’t want to care for a plant after it’s died, then bromeliads are the plants for you. You can buy them from supermarkets in full bloom, and then when the flower is finished, they die and you buy a new one.

The beauty of them (if that’s the kind of thing you like) is that the people that grow them have perfected the art of keeping them in bloom for literally months. We have one at work from Tesco that I believe has been treated with some kind of sap or glue to keep it going. Either way, it’s still going strong.

Personally, that isn’t my thing. I like looking after plants, and the blooms are just the icing on an already delicious cake.

alocasia dragonscale flower
alocasia dragonscale flower

Hormones to help your house plants flower

Again, another thing that really isn’t up my street, but for enthusiasts of certain plants using hormones to encourage plants to flower is standard practice.

To anyone new to the hobby, there’s actually a dirty underbelly to the house plant community. If your interest is piqued, watch this video that Kaylee Ellen did on the pink philodendron scandal. It’s creepy stuff! If you don’t really care but want the tl;dr, basically plant sellers have treated some philodendrons with a hormone that gives them pink leaves or variegation.

The scandal is that after a year or so the pink fades completely and you’re left with a regular old philodendron (Congo, I believe). So people are paying hundreds (?) of pounds for a year’s worth of pink leaves. Madness.

Peace lilies are often treated with a hormone (gibberic acid) to encourage blooming, which is why you can usually buy them with flowers on, but struggle to get them to bloom again.

They’re treated with the hormone because usually when they’re sold they’re too young to produce the hormone on their own, but they’re more likely to sell if they’re in bloom.

That being said, peace lilies will flower on their own (because they do produce gibberic acid themselves) IF they’re given the correct conditions.

Should you remove houseplant flowers

It takes a tremendous amount of energy for plants to produce flowers, so it can lead to a bit of droop in other areas.

In fact, a lot of houseplant enthusiasts recommend cutting off flowers to help the plant preserve its energy.

The plant won’t mind if you cut off the flowers. At all.

But it’s also NOT mandatory. If you love the flowers – leave them be!

I rarely remove the flowers from my houseplants, unless, as was the case with spider plant – they’re causing issues.

If you’re worried about your plant losing energy, just give it more! Make sure it has plenty of light and you’re fertilising it regularly and it’ll be more than happy.

Final thoughts

If you want to ensure that your plant blooms:

  • Make sure you have a plant that is able to bloom in conditions you can provide for it. If it needs bright light for seven hours a day and your house doesn’t get that much, your plant will probably never bloom.
  • Provide it with everything it needs: water, light, fertiliser, and any extras that your specific plant might like—orchids, for example, like a clear pot because the roots photosynthesis as well as the leaves.

Then you just have to be patient and do your best.

Good luck!

monstera leaf

Caroline Cocker

Caroline is the founder and writer (and plant keeper) of Planet Houseplant

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