The Q&A Archives: What to do with our Oo-La-La's?

Question: We have quite a few Oo-La-La from Monrovia on our hillside. They were planted last year. Should the leaves fall off during the winter? If so, they get new growth in the spirng? Is there any fertilizer I should give them and when? Are they know to be eaten by deer?

Answer: Bougainvilleas are typically evergreen in your gardening region. They can be nipped by frost, which will cause the leaves to fall in the winter. Generally they put out new growth in a 6 week cycle (grow new leaves, flower, rest for about 6 weeks, then grow new leaves). You can prune them this spring just as they are starting to develop new leaves. Pruning them back a bit will help remove winter damage and will encourage lots of healthy new growth. Fertilize in the spring after they've begun to develop new leaves. Any all-purpose garden fertilizer is fine to use with bougainvilleas; be sure to apply in amounts as recommended on the fertilizer label. If you over-feed, the plants will suffer. Deer typically avoid bougainvillea (but especially hungry deer might nibble on the foliage).

Best wishes with your bougainvilleas!

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