The Q&A Archives: No Flowers On Bougainvillia

Question: I planted a bougainvillia 6 years ago but it's not blooming. It just keeps growing leaves vigorously. I want to see flowers. What should I do?

Answer: The fact that it is "growing vigorously" may be the clue! Bougainvilleas bloom best when they are not in so vigorous of a growing condition. Potbound container plants and in-ground plants living in marginally poor conditions seem to be among the best blooming specimens.

Cut back on fertilizer and water enough to keep it going but not luxuriously growing. It should settle down and start blooming in time.

Some people take the drastic measure of root pruning to get their plants to bloom. This is done by forcing a shovel into the soil in 4 locations a foot or two away from the base of the plant, thereby cutting some of the roots. I would only do this as a last resort, such as if it wasn't back in bloom by next spring.

Good luck with your bougainvillea!

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