The Q&A Archives: White Drying Edges On Many Purple Queen Bougainvillea Blooms

Question: Hi, I have a Purple Queen Bougainvillea, a Monrovia plant which I purchased from San Lorenzo Garden Center a couple of weeks ago. It had some white discoloration on the edges of some booms but I thought that might be because of poor watering or something. I purchased the plant and replated it in a very large outdoor circular planter. The plant is now getting good water but the discoloration continues and seems to be spreading. There is new green grown on the tips of the plant so it appears to be growing but I'm worried about the blooms. Can you help me. Should I water more? Thanks.

Chris McCauley

Answer: Bougainvillea's vibrant colors come not from the inconspicuous true flowers, but from the large, papery, petal-like bracts that surround them. What you're witnessing is fading of the bracts, probably due to a nutrient deficiency. You've planted a very vigorous type, and once put on a regular feeding and watering schedule, your plant should perk right up. Bougainvillea's prefer rich, well-draining soil and deep, thorough watering throughout the growing season. Water as often as necessary to keep the soil moist but not soggy wet. Feed (if you haven't already) with a balanced 10-20-20 fertilizer, according to label directions.

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