The Q&A Archives: Bougainvillea In Colder Climate

Question: I recently purchased a Monrovia Bougainvillea that I have in a large pot and was planning on taking inside for the winter. Will it survive, go dormant, and/or come back next season? What might I do to make it last more than one growing season in Ohio? I am not opposed to installing grow lights inside if I have to. Any advice ( as long as you tell me it will come back next year--ha) is welcome.

Answer: Bogies thrive in full sun so put it in a location to receive as much light as possible. They are frost tender so be sure to get it indoors if frost is predicted. Try to bring it in gradually (i.e., put it in a somewhat protected location outdoors, than a more protected location, than indoors) so it will suffer less shock from abrupt changes in conditions. (Do the reverse in spring.) Don't overwater or overfertilize--they actually thrive on neglect. Wait until the soil dries out and then water slowly and deeply to ensure the rootball gets wet. Fertilize once a month in winter with a product with a higher phosphorus content than nitrogen to promote bloom, e.g., 5-10-5. You can probably fertilize twice a month during active growth periods. These are pretty tough plants so it should come back for you. Good luck!

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