The Q&A Archives: No Flowers On Akebia

Question: My 2yr-old Akebia ''chocolate'' vine looks lush, but has never bloomed. It is in partial shade, SE corner, on a 6ft arch. Is this a ph/soil/fertilizer, pruning problem or is the plant too young to bloom this year?

Answer: They may not bloom for a year or two while they establish a root system. If the plant is receiving too much nitrogen, it may grow foliage at the expense of blooms. Is there a chance that it receives excess nitrogen from a neighbor's nearby lawn, for example. (Roots will spread and soak up nutrients from other places.) Here?s some basic info on fertilizer and nutrients that plants require. The 3 numbers on a fertilizer bag refer to the percentage of N (nitrogen), P (phosphorus), and K (potassium) in the bag. There are different formulations for different purposes. In general terms, nitrogen produces lush green growth, phosphorus helps strengthen stems and produce flowers, and potassium keeps the root system healthy. If you're applying fertilizer to fruiting (e.g., tomatoes) or flowering plants, you're not as interested in the plant developing leaves as you are in it flowers and fruit, so you'd use a formulation lower in nitrogen and higher in phosphorus, such as 15-30-15. You can also add bone meal, an organic source of phosphorus. It is a spring bloomer, so be sure you aren't pruning off flowering wood.

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