The Q&A Archives: Transplant Shock

Question: Three weeks ago I planted a five gallon white Bougainvillea. It is now dropping its leaves and loosing its flowers. I believe it is experiencing ?transplant shock?. What should I do to ensure it does not die? How long does it take for the plant to snap out of this and get back to it?s normal self?

Thanks for your help!

Answer: The roots of bougainvilleas do not knit soil together in a firm root ball, making them highly sensitive to disturbance. One trick to minimize shock when planting is to cut off the container bottom, set both plant and container in the planting hole, then slide the container up over the plant, filling in with soil as you go. Since yours is already planted, expect the bougainvillea to sulk for several more weeks. It will adjust, it just takes time. Provide water on a regular basis and when the plant does begin to show new growth, prune away the withered stems. It will replace them right away and continue to grow and flourish.

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