The Q&A Archives: Bougainvillea Not Blooming

Question: I have a bougainvillea. It is a vine that has small white flowers surrounded by three bright crimson pink (most common), red, or pinkish white leaves. The leaves look more like flowers, and they are native to California. When I got it, it was full of flowers. Now the leaves are growing lushly, but there are no flowers. How can I have the flowers bloom?

Answer: Bougainvillea (Nyctaginaceae) is an evergreen shrubby vine in tropical climates. They will endure a light frost but not consistent freezing weather. Plant in full sun, in rich, well-drained soil. Feed the plant in spring and again in summer and provide a trellis or other support for the vining branches. Bougainvillea respond to heavy pruning by sending up an abundance of new flowering stems. The vibrant color of the bougainvillea comes from three large bracts that surround the tiny flowers.

You didn't say if you had transplanted it into the ground or not. If you did, it's probably just transplant shock. If it's in a container, it may need fresh soil, more room for its roots and/or fertilizer. Bougainvillea take full sun, and don't like to be overwatered.

Prune some of the stems back and the plant should produce new flowering shoots.

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