Why is my Butterfly Pea plant not flowering? Do you have the same problem? Don’t worry you are not alone. Many of the butterfly pea gardeners have faced this problem. Trust me this can be solved easily. If you are new to this flowering vine then go through my previous post How to Grow and Care Butterfly Pea: Clitoria Ternatea.
Butterfly pea is a beautiful tropical flowering vine. It has a unique scientific name- Clitoria Ternatea. You can guess the reason just by looking into the flower. Other common names of butterfly pea are Pigeon pea and Aprajita.
It requires a warm humid climate to grow. USDA Zone 10 and above is ideal for butterfly pea. In these Agricultural zones, you can grow butterfly pea as perennials. You can grow butterfly pea as an annual summer flowering plant in USDA zone 6-9. Always remember a butterfly pea plant cannot tolerate frost.
If you have a rich organic well-drained soil mix then it should be easy to grow butterfly pea. If you have a healthy plant and still it’s not blooming in the season. Then it is time to look out for the reason behind your problems.
Check out my previous post: Why Are My Carrot Seeds Not Germinating?
What are the Reasons for Butterfly pea not flowering?
Several factors can reduce the flowering in a butterfly pea plant. You should check these carefully.
- Lack of sunlight– Butterfly pea requires long direct exposer to sunlight. At least 6 hours of sunlight is required for blooming. The plant will grow continuously in shade but it may not bloom.
- High Salinity of the Soil– You can think- Why the hell someone uses salt in the potting soil. Yes, we don’t but we use chemical fertilizers. Most of the chemical fertilizers are some sort of mineral salts. Excessive or regular use of these fertilizers especially in containers can increase salinity. Ultimately this can harm the soil.
- High or low Soil Ph– Butterfly pea has a comfort zone around the neutral ph zone. It can survive slightly on either side. But they will not bloom if the soil ph deviates too much from the neutral 7.0 ph. An ideal range for butterfly pea is 6.0 to 6.8ph. Excessive use of chemical fertilizers and frequent watering can cause this problem.
- Overwatering and Fertilization– The is the root cause of any gardening problem. A butterfly pea plant will definitely stop flowering if the soil remains soggy for several days. Sometimes the use of fertilizers without knowing the actual requirements can make the situation worse. Fertilizers rich in nitrogen can increase excessive foliage growth. And this is not required for bud formation. A butterfly pea needs more phosphorus and potassium than nitrogen.
Check out my favorite butterfly pea seeds on amazon.
When to expect flowers in the Butterfly pea plant?
A butterfly pea usually blooms in late spring throughout summer. This time can vary a little with the average local temperature.
In a tropical climate, you can expect a butterfly pea to bloom throughout the year except for a couple of cold months. In the US it starts blooming in Mid April to May and lasts till October. Again the proper timing may vary. In the cold zone, the blooming period of butterfly pea is shorter than in hot zones.
Can a small Clitoria ternatea plant bloom?
Yes, definitely a small Clitoria ternatea or butterfly pea can bloom. It is a common misconception that butterfly pea must be of a certain length to start blooming. In fact, a small 1 feet length plant can bloom. I have many of those bloomers in my garden.
Every spring several plants grow from the naturally scattered seeds and start blooming after few months. You only need to care about your small butterfly pea plant. Just feed it carefully and expose it to sunlight every day.
Do old perineal butterfly pea bloom?
Yeah, They do. Most of the butterfly pea varieties are perineal plants. They can survive for decades but in a proper tropical climate. In fact, I had a 6-year-old Blue butterfly pea in my garden. It was seeded by my uncle and its main stem grows thicker than my thumb.
Last year we had to remove it for some backyard renovation. But I already have some others with me for the last couple f years. One white butterfly pea is 4 ear old and growing in a small 5-6 inch container. And yes, All of them bloom, a lot every year.
You only have to keep the plant free from diseases. Feed it whenever required and keep the soil moist. An old mature butterfly pea doesn’t need anything more than that.
How to encourage flowering in a butterfly pea plant?
- Add organic compost or decomposed kitchen waste to the topsoil. It is required only once every month. Compost is a slow-release organic fertilizer. It will feed your butterfly pea for several months.
- Dig and Tilt the top 2-inch soil around the root ball once in 30 days. Leave the soil like this for proper aeration and warming. Don’t water for a couple of days during this process. Follow this step with composting and watering.
- Maintain a schedule for fertilizer use. Frequent fertilization can harm the plant. Therefore try to record the date and upcoming schedule in a calendar or notepad. It will keep you punctual for the next schedule.
- Put the butterfly pea plant in a full sunspot. If your garden lacks a long sunlight exposer. Then try to keep the butterfly pea plant near a window or sun-facing wall. The wall will radiate heat to support plant growth. You should understand that proper sunlight is necessary for flowering in butterfly pea. Grow a butterfly pea only if you receive a minimum couple of hours of direct sunlight in the garden.
- Do check for nutrient composition especially when using chemical fertilizer. Use a potassium-rich fertilizer for faster blooming. If the nitrogen content in the fertilizer is high. Then you probably see faster black growth with lots of leaves. A balanced NPK fertilizer is useful in the early days. Later you should choose a flower mix, especially during the summer blooming season. NPK 6:10:32 or NPK 10:10:40 can be used for better blooming in butterfly pea.
- If your butterfly pea plant still not blooming. Then try spraying the plants with seaweed extract and Epsom salt solution once every week of 4-6 subsequent weeks. It definitely works. Put the plant in full sunlight during this period.
- Finally, Reduce the watering cycle. A small force can compel the plant to change its dormant state. This really helps to increase the number of blooms in each plant. Keep an eye on the soil moisture. Water only when the plant starts drooping. Controlled dehydration is a scientific technique to encourage blooming in butterfly pea.
Precautions and care for better bloom
- Keep the Butterfly pea plant clean. These vines can quickly become a mess, especially in containers. Look out for any disease or dead branch regularly. Removing these is the only option to keep your plant healthy.
- Take care with the use of chemical fertilizer. Never repeat the application before the scheduled time. Beginners can think the more fertilizer means more flowers. But it doesn’t work like that. A little extra fertilizer can kill the butterfly pea plant.
- Butterfly pea can bear a lot of bloom. A healthy big plant can bloom 100s of flowers at once. So it is important to harvest these flowers in time. The plant needs to get rid of these spent flowers especially to continue budding. Otherwise, seedpods will form, and the plant concentrate only on seed formation. It will reduce flowering once seedpods mature.
- Butterfly pea is a vine, not a creeper. So you need to give some support to help it grow vertically. It will not climb on its own. It can twist around any support or nearby plant and grow upward. Therefore keep it away from other container plants and provide a long stick for support.
- Pruning is essential for your butterfly pea. It requires some tools like a knife, blade, or a professional pruner or shear. You must keep those tools clean and ready for the running process. Use a cotton swab and rubbing alcohol to clean the tools. It will prevent any fungal or bacterial infection at the cut wounds.
Special tip for lots of Blooms in butterfly pea
Cut back your butterfly pea to its 3/4th in early spring. Once you remove the old branches, new ones will grow. Best flowering always occurs in new butterfly pea branches.
You should prune the old branches 1 or 2 weeks after the last frost. In tropical frost-free zones, September and February is the ideal month for pruning a butterfly pea plant.
Follow the pruning procedure with soil tilling and then Composting. Maintain a 1-day gap between these three steps and avoid watering during this procedure. Watering should be the Your step.
If your plant is in a container or pot. Then keep it inside a partial shade only for this period. Otherwise, It should be fine garden soil.
Water abundantly for the first time after these steps and let the soil dry before the next spell.
I hope it works for you. If not then let me know, I’ll try to solve your specific problems.
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