The Q&A Archives: Bougainvillea Care

Question: My husband just purchased a Monrovia Purple Queen Bougainvillea "topiary" for me for our anniversary. Some of the leaves appear to have browned, dried, curled edges.
Could you give me proper care advice. Also, will this be a plant that I can successfully "winter" in my house and what is the proper care for that?
Do we need to fertlized through the growing season?? wintering season?? Should the plant need pruning at any point?? The topiary is in it's growing pot from you, should it be re-potted?? Please advise.
Thanks!!! p.s. the bougainvillea brings back fond memories of our anniversary trip to the Carribbean....I love it!!!

Answer: Bougainvillea flourishes in warm winter areas such as Hawaii and southern California, but will not winter over in your gardening region. While you can take the plant indoors during the winter months, it won't perform well unless you can provide greenhouse-like conditions (bright light, warmth and humidity). Without a greenhouse you can still keep your bougainvillea alive during the winter months but it's likely to lose its leaves. If this happens, the plant should leaf out again in the spring. You can fertilize your bougainvillea on a weekly basis with a quarter-strength dilution of liquid fertilizer to keep it growing strong. Instead of hard pruning, simply pinch out the growing tips of the shoots. This will encourage the formation of new flowering shoots. Bougainvillea does not like to have its roots disturbed so repot only when absolutely necessary (every 3-4 years). Best wishes with your bougainvillea!

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