The Q&A Archives: Bougainvillea

Question: My bougainvillea bush is growing well but it's not blooming. It's planted in an area where it gets lots of sunlight. What can I do to get it to bloom? Thank you

Answer: You may have to stress your bougainvillea a bit to coax it to bloom. Usually, bougainvilleas are free-blooming, putting out a flush of flowers starting in late summer. But some varieties can be late- or finicky bloomers. Try the following wilt method to stimulate bloom formation. After the main flush of new leaves emerge in spring, cut back on water until the leaves hang straight down during midday. Give the plants only enough water each morning to prevent them from completely drying out. Don't worry if the leaves drop - your bougainvilleas will still be okay. Continue this procedure for two weeks, then begin watering daily, followed by a monthly application of a low-phosphorus, high-potassium time-release fertilizer such as 17-7-10 at a rate of one tablespoon per gallon container size. The plants should bloom well while you are fertilizing them. Keep watering and feeding on this schedule until new leaf growth appears after flowering. Hope this helps!

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