The Q&A Archives: Winter Care for Bougainvillea

Question: I purchased a purple queen bougainvillea during the summer of 2005, which I planted in a planter. It seemed to do well during the summer and I brought it in well before the cold weather. Now all the flowers and leaves had fallen off and it seems to be dead. I continue to water it and hope that it will grow. I do not get much southern exposure so I have it facing east in a very bright room. What else can I do to ensure growth?

Answer: I think your bougainvillea is reacting to the difference in light, temperature and humidity it experienced outside now that it is indoors. You can cut the plant back by half and then wait for it to adjust to growing inside. You should see some new growth within 2-3 weeks. Provide the brightest light possible while it's inside, but don't expect it to bloom. Water when the top inch of potting soil is dry. Next spring take it back outdoors and feed it (liquid 20-20-20 is a good formulation). It should bloom 5-6 weeks after you've taken it outdoors.

Best wishes with your bougainvillea!

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