The Q&A Archives: Pale Bouganvilla

Question: I purchased 3 S. O'Hara bouganvilla, 5 gal size approx 2 months ago and they are not happy. The leaves are pale and few. I have given them miracle acid to green them up. and not much results, I also spray them with miracle grow in a water sprayer. They are in good soil and they are west facing and get good sun. They were lush and beautiful when I got them, help please. Thank you, Gloria

Answer: You didn't say if you had transplanted them into the ground or not. If you did, it's probably just transplant shock. (The plants resent having their roots disturbed.) If still in a container, they may need fresh soil, more room for its roots and/or fertilizer. Bougainvillea take full sun, and don't like to be overwatered. Soil that's too wet can be another reason for yellow leaves dropping. 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.

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