The Q&A Archives: sick torch glow bougainvillea

Question: My torch glow Bougainvillea are dropping leaves, look sickly, and are not growing. I have sprayed them for aphids & reduced watering. What could be my problem?

Answer: There are many causes of dropping leaves and failure to thrive. Here are some general guidelines for growing bougainvilleas:

Bougainvilleas thrive in hot, sunny areas in the garden. From the desert to the sea, they are right at home even in the most adverse of conditions.

Young plants can be severly damaged or even killed by heavy frost, so be prepared to provide some winter protection if heavy frost is predicted.

When planting your bougainvillea, be aware that the roots will not hold the rootball together. It is advisable to cut the bottom out of the container when planting, then slip or cut the pot away from the plant.

Keep the new shoots tied to their supports to prevent whipping in the wind and watch out for the thorns--they can hurt.

Don't be afraid to prune. Pruning is done to renew plant shape, redirect growth and remove any dead or dying wood.

Major pruning should be done only after all danger of frost is past.

Nip back the long growth during the growing season which will help increase flowering.

1 - Feed monthly with E. B. Stone All Purpose Fertilizer. During the summer switch over to Green Light Super Bloom to encourage strong flowering.

2- Control leaf chlorosis or yellowing by applying Ironite in mid-spring and again in the fall.

3- Evenly distribute the fertilizer under the plant.

4- In September an application of Sul - Po - Mag will help prepare them for winter and be more resistant to cold weather.

Over watering is the most common reason that bougainvilleas fail to flower. Overwatering can also cause root rot which can be fatal. Always test the soil by feeling. If moist, don?t water.

Every second or third watering, it is advisable to deeply irrigate to allow for any accumulated salts to be leached from the root area.

Hope this information helps you determine just what is causing distress in your plant.

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