Orange trees will not flower if the tree is less than 2 years old, if the tree is very old, if it is getting too much nitrogen or too much shade. Orange trees flower best when they are in a bright sunny position. Avoid over pruning new growth stems as this could mean you remove the growth points that will encourage the tree to bloom.
Why an orange tree will not bloom and easy solutions
To get your orange tree to flower check these 10 factors to see if any of these are the cause. You can then correct the problem and get lots of oranges.
1. Orange tree is too young
Orange trees less than 2 years old will be too young to flower. Small and young orange trees are usually around 1-5 years. These trees will cost anywhere from $15-30 and will flower and fruit usually 1-2 years from buying them.
There is a balance between saving money and buying a more advanced tree. In the long term a smaller tree will have great results as it will grow in the spot and settle into where you plant it. Buying a small plant however usually means you will need to wait for the next season before you will get blooms on your orange tree,
To get orange blooms and fruit quicker, buy a more advanced tree from a nursery. These will be more expensive, costing $50 or up but should be 4 years or older and ready to fruit straight away.
2. Orange tree is too old
Old orange trees will eventually stop blooming and stop growing oranges. If you buy a house with an established orange tree you may need to wait to see if it will still flower. A tree that was planted 30 years before may no longer be blooming.
Old orange trees are beautiful and sometimes will stop blooming because they will stop being cared for. To give your old orange tree the best chance of blooming, top dress the tree with compost or cow manure.
For more on this check out my previous article here on how to top dress an orange tree.
Add a few handfuls of chicken manure to the surface and water it in well. Cover it with a good 2-3 inch layer of straw or sugar cane mulch to keep the moisture in. Water the tree consistently and regularly to give it a boost and get it ready to bloom.
3. Too much water
Overwatering orange trees can wash nutrients away from the plant which can reduce the potassium levels and stop the plant from flowering. The tree itself will go into a dormant phase or protect itself from dying. It will stop blooming and focus the energy on keeping itself alive.
Too much water can also sit at the root base of the orange tree and cause root rot. Roots damaged by root rot will not be able to take up nutrients and the plant will stop blooming.
To avoid overwatering your orange tree test the soil before adding more water. It is best to water your orange tree deeply less regularly than to add water in small amounts every day.
4. Not enough water
Orange trees that do not get enough water will stop blooming. Regular deep watering of an orange tree will keep it growing leaves, stems and it will bloom regularly. Orange trees can dry out quickly in very hot weather so prepare them with a 2-3 inch layer of straw or sugar cane mulch in Spring.
5. Too much nitrogen fertilizer
Orange trees that get too much nitrogen will grow lots of leaves and stems but can stop blooming. A higher proportion of nitrogen to potassium will put your orange tree into growth phase.
To encourage blooming and reduce the nitrogen to potassium ratio, stop adding nitrogen rich fertilizers like chicken manure and liquid nitrogen fertilizers.
To tip the scale quickly into a ratio where potassium levels are higher add a fruit promoting fertilizer or sulphate of potash. This will increase potassium levels and encourage blooming.
6. Poor soil
Poor soil can cause orange trees to delay or stop blooming. They need a range of nutrients to grow and flower well and will benefit from a soil that drains well and is rich in organic matter. Improving the soil before planting with compost, aged cow manure and pelleted chicken manure.
Potted orange trees can also quickly use up nutrients in potting soil if they are not fertilized over time. Starting with a good quality potting soil will get your orange tree off to a good start.
Before planting orange trees, add aged cow manure, compost and worm castings to the soil before. Use this same mix to top-dress roots for orange trees already planted in the ground. Add pelleted chicken manure around the base of the plant in Spring and Fall.
7. Root damage
Orange root damage can stop the tree from taking up the nutrients it needs. Rough raking or digging in the soil under the plant canopy can damage the roots that absorb the nutrients from the soil.
Avoid root damage by keeping the area under the tree canopy free of plants. Avoid the temptation to plant flowers or ground covers directly under the tree where the roots maybe growing. This will give the orange tree more space and a greater chance to get the nutrients it needs.
This will help the orange tree to grow, absorb nutrients effectively and bloom well.
Orange trees will not bloom if the tree is taken over by the suckering root system. Grafted orange trees are placed on fast and strong growing root systems which can sprout and take over the plant.
These root stocks while they will grow well, they will not produce blooms or grow oranges. Cut off any stems that grow below the grafting point. Cut the suckering stems back to the tree trunk with sharp secateurs.
9. Too much shade
Orange trees will not bloom well if grown in deep shade. The more sun your orange tree gets, the more it will bloom. Your orange tree will grow blooms in Fall and Spring so choose an open area of the garden
To encourage lots of blooms on your orange tree choose an open area of your garden that gets sun at least 6 hours of the day to plant your new orange tree. Trim back branches from other trees to stop the light from being blocked.
10. Over pruning
Pruning your orange tree too harshly before it produces blooms can stop it from blooming altogether and growing fruit. Trimming growing tips off in spring where flowers will form can stop flowering.
Avoid pruning the orange growing tips before spring. Let the tree grow new tips and flower buds. Trim the tree at the end of the summer growing season to avoid cutting off flowers.
No blooms on orange trees – Summary
Orange trees love sun so for more blooms choose the sunniest position you can. Planting your orange tree in a pot will give you the opportunity to move it around your garden to find the sunniest position. Trimming overhanging branches of trees nearby can be another easy way to encourage more orange blooms.
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