The Q&A Archives: Non-Blooming Bougainvillea

Question: I'm going to ask a how to watering question, but first...

You answered an earlier question re bougainvilleas that have failed to bloom and exhibit brown edging on their leaves. My error is: I trashed your answer in error, hence I can't quote your message first hand.

But, as I recall, you advised that the plants I have are probably a purple bougainvillea that require lots of sun and heat, and the brown edging is symptomatic of too much fertilizer.

Well, I've moved the plants to an unobstructed Southern exposure in a garden room and fertilizer is a thing of the past, at least for the near term.

Now: Watering? What advice can you give me for the bougainvillea?

TIA...or, thanks in advance.


Answer: I think you got the basics of the first message. The more sunlight your plant gets, the more flowers. Since bougainvillea blooms on new shoots which develop on old wood, you might want to prune yours back by about one-third. If the room is warm (which promotes growth), prune it back now. If the room is cool (which retards growth) wait to prune until early spring. While they like to be fed while actively growing and blooming, winter is the time to withhold fertilizer and to keep the soil on the dry side. Allow the top inch of soil to dry out before watering your plant. When you do water, drench the soil completely, and allow the excess to drain. In the spring and summer months, water as often as necessary to keep the soil moist but not soggy wet. Hope this information helps!

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