Why Esperanza Does Not Bloom: What To Do For Esperanza Plant Not Flowering

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By Susan Patterson, Master Gardener

When you travel through the southern parts of the United States, especially Florida, you may come across these sturdy bushes flowering with abandon on hill slopes and by the wayside. You may be growing one in your garden with lots of love and hope — esperanza means ‘hope’ in Spanish — but what if your esperanza does not bloom at all? Find out reasons for esperanza not blooming and tips on how to get blooms on esperanza plants in this article.

Why Esperanza Does Not Bloom

Like most other members of the Bignoniaceae family, this popular landscape plant is loved for its floriferous nature. The flowers have a quaint fragrance too, but it is very mild. Butterflies and hummingbirds are attracted to the flowers too.

Drought tolerance is another feature appreciated in these plants, which go by the scientific name Tecoma stans, but more commonly called yellow bells. However, many gardeners who love these bunches of bright yellow, bell-shaped flowers are disappointed by their esperanza not blooming.

The common reasons for esperanza plant not flowering includes having a thorough look at the cultural requirements:

  • Sunny location: Bright, hot, sun brings out the best in esperanza plants. The thin leaves may be a bit droopy in the middle of the day, but the flower show continues unabated. The plants may tolerate slight shade, but it reduces flowering.
  • Good drainage: Whether you are growing your plant in a pot or in the ground, drainage is very important. That’s one reason for them thriving on the slopes of hills.
  • Need for space: These plants like to stretch out their roots. Plants that tolerate drought conditions usually have large root systems, and they do not have much competition, unlike those growing in rich, damp soils. If an esperanza plant was blooming well when you brought it home from the nursery but later refused to flower in the same pot, it may have become pot bound.
  • Alkaline soil: Tecoma does well in neutral to slightly alkaline soil. Some soils, especially those waterlogged soils and those rich in rotting vegetation, may be too acidic for esperanza. Chalky soils are well tolerated by these plants. Now you know why they do well in Florida soil, which is rich in calcium carbonate from the seashells, and in Arizona with little rainfall.
  • Need for phosphorus: Most fertilizers are high in nitrogen. Plants do need nitrogen for good growth, but too much nitrogen in the soil makes them unable to absorb phosphorus from the soil, which helps promote blooming.

How to Get Blooms on Esperanza

Below are tips on getting your esperanza plant to bloom:

  • Relocate – Move the plant to a sunny, well drained area of the garden. Also, adding sand and compost to clay soil improves drainage.
  • Repot – If the pot has more roots than soil, repot it into a larger pot containing good, well draining soil mix.
  • Reduce acidityTest the soil pH and, if you find your soil acidic, amend it by incorporating powdered limestone to neutralize the acidity.
  • Feed it phosphorus – Phosphorus is essential for flowering. Adding bone meal or super phosphate may promote flowering.
  • Ignore it – If you still see no flowers on esperanza, even after following the above tips, it is time to ignore the bush completely. No more watering, no more feeding! In fact, this treatment may actually bring good results because esperanza thrives on neglect. Not allowing the flowers to set seeds is another way to prolong flowering.
  • Is your esperanza plant seed-grown? – Esperanza plants sold by nurseries are special cultivars selected for high flower count. Even though they can be easily propagated from the seeds they produce in abundance, seed-grown esperanza plants may not be as floriferous as the parent plant. Some of them may exhibit the tree-like habit of one of their ancestors and grow very tall without any sign of flowering until they are big enough. Replacing the plant with a proven specimen from the nursery may be the solution in such cases.

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