What Is A Blind Plant: Learn Why Some Plants Fail To Bloom

First spring flowers
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By Bonnie L. Grant

What is a blind plant? Plant blindness is not visually challenged flora. Non-blooming of plants that should bloom is the actual definition of plant blindness. The reason some plants fail to bloom can be caused by many situations. Let’s work together to discover the answers and causes to this disappointing bloom issue.

There is nothing more exciting than the first blooms of spring and few things more discouraging than the failure of a favorite plant to produce flowers. Blind shoots form at the end of many types of plants, resulting in a lack of flowers. Bulbs, like daffodils, also go blind suddenly one season and form copious foliage but no blooms. There are a variety of factors that can cause this. Some of them are correctable and some of them are the capriciousness of nature.

What is a Blind Plant?


To answer this question we need to observe the basic rules of bloom formation. The non-blooming of plants, or plant blindness, is found in a host of plant specimens. You may first notice it in bulbs, which once performed beautifully year after year, but now fail to bloom.

In order for any plant to produce flowers, it needs adequate soil and exposure, water, nutrients and temperature. A bulb is a perfect little system for nutrient storage and it is this stored material which fuels the blooms. Similarly, other flowering plants uptake energy from the soil or the addition of fertilizer, to stimulate blooming. There are some steps you can take when plants fail to bloom but some are just plants prone to blindness.

Causes of Plant Blindness

Any atmospheric changes may prevent a plant from blooming. Temperature, inadequate moisture, genetic factors, pests, disease and many other causes may form a blind plant. Some plants prone to blindness are fruiting plants, such as tomatoes. When they fail to bloom, you will not get fruit. Sometimes pinching off side shoots helps, but often it is just an anomaly and you will have to get another plant.

Blind shoots from roses have been studied as grafted plants and the resulting offspring were found to produce even more blooms than cuttings from flowering plants. This should be encouraging and seems to point out that blind plants are not useless but can be the source of propagation material.

Preventing Plant Blindness

There is no surefire way of preventing plant blindness.

  • Providing supplemental fertilizer or a bloom food can increase the chances of blooms.
  • Proper pruning techniques will help you avoid cutting off the bloom sites on your plants. For instance, some plants bloom off of old wood only, so you don’t want to accidentally cut that portion off until after the bloom period. Spur pruning can help increase bloom in apples and other fruiting trees.
  • Potted bloomers should be replanted every year when dormant and given fresh nutrient rich soil with compost mixed in to help feed the process.
  • There are also chemicals, called primers, which can help decrease the incidence of blind plants at germination but these seem to be limited to commercial use.

The frustrated gardener should try these tips and wait until the following year and see if you get blooms. If heroic garden efforts fail to awake the late bloomer, it might be time to compost the reluctant plant in favor of a more reliable flower producer.

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