The Q&A Archives: Bougainville

Question: A friend gave me a Monrovia bougainville, potted. It will be an INDOOR plant since I live in Buffalo, NY.

Please advise re:

a. It is large, but the pot is small. Does it like to be

Answer: This is a plant that does better when it is in a relatively small pot. Eventually you will need to repot it, when you do make sure to use a good quality potting mix formulated for container plants that drains well. Move it to a slightly larger container and be careful not to overwater it. Repotting is better done in the spring, I would not recommend doing that now.

This is a plant that needs full sun or as much direct sun as possible indoors, preferably a room with south and west facing windows. In your area, the days will be so short during the winter that supplemental light would be helpful if you want to try to keep it actively growing during the winter.

Otherwise, you can place it in a cooler room (say 50 degrees) and let it rest during the winter. During that rest time cut down on the watering (barely damp, do not let it go bone dry) and do not fertilize.

When you bring it indoors, it will probably drop a lot of foliage. This provides a good opportunity to trim it back hard. This stimulates new growth and denser branching and should result in more flowers next season. If you do not trim it back hard in fall, do so in late winter.

From spring to fall you should fertilize regularly. Use a water soluble fertilizer such as 10-10-10 or a slow release fertilizer. Read and follow the label directions.

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