The Q&A Archives: Bougainvillea

Question: I have a potted Bougainvillea that I have had for years. It is an outdoor plant that does very well except for this time of the year. It loses its bloom but also drops almost all of its leaves and looks very sick. It then makes a comeback in Spring. I see these plants thriving all over Ojai, what could be the problem with my plant?

Answer: You can probably keep your plant looking good all year by pinching out the growing tips throughout the spring and summer, and by pruning back some of the old wood in the summer to encourage vibrant new shoots. Your bougainvillea produces flowering bracts on new shoots that develop from old wood. Pinching and pruning will keep new growth coming, which will have new leaves and shoots. It's too late now to prune - wait until spring and start pinching the plant back to help renew it.

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