The Q&A Archives: Bouganvilla Not Blooming

Question: We have 4 bouganvilla plants that we have had for several years. Three of them we bring inside to an atrium for the winter ... these are 2 Barbara Karst and one California Gold. This summer when we took them outside they put on new growth and bloomed sparsely. Since that bloom cycle they do not seem to be putting on any new buds. We have mixed Osmocote into the soil, and fed them occasionally with Peter's Bloom Booster. What could be our problem? Also, the 4th plant, a Scarlet O'Hara, we planted in a protected area outside ... this plant only bloomed sparsely the first year we had it and has never bloomed since. It dies back in the winter, but puts out new growth each year and appears to be healthy. Help!

Answer: Boley,

In the tropics bougainvilleas bloom almost continuously. There the day and night cycles are more even. Here in Texas our long summer days seem to discourage them from forming the blooms we so want to see. They bloom better for us in spring, fall and even winter if they are in a warm greenhouse. Their bloom cycle lasts a little over a month. After this the blooms or bracts fall off and the plant cycles through a period of a 6-8 weeks during which it grows leaves and shoots but not blooms. Then it will often enter another bloom period.

Bougainvilleas bloom best when they are not in so vigorous of a growing condition. Potbound container plants and in ground plants living in marginally poor conditions seem to be among the best blooming specimens.

If your plants are really vigorous cut back on fertilizer and water enough to keep them going but not luxuriously growing. They may then settle down and start blooming in time.

Thanks for the question. Please stop in again soon!

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