bougainvillea - Knowledgebase Question

Avon Park, FL (Zone 9A)
Avatar for bljl262
Question by bljl262
March 29, 2005
we bought a bougainvillea from home depot last year and it didnt do good at this year my husband moved it to our front started out doing we want to know what kind of fertilizer to use and how we care for it...we are only here in the winter but we have sprinklers that come on 2 times a week...we want one so bad.....we had to move it from the back yard as nothing well grow there...must have dumped some junk there when they built our house,,,is all we can soon as husband moved it to the front yard it got all new leaves on it....we keep asking at home depot...but no one seems able to help us know how to care for it.....they all tell us different things....we where so glad to find your web site.....thank you so much.....beverly lincoln...

Answer from NGA
March 29, 2005

Bougainvilleas bloom best when they are not in too vigorous of a growing condition. Potbound container plants and in ground plants living in marginally poor conditions seem to be among the best blooming specimens. Cut back on fertilizer and water enough to keep it going but not luxuriously growing. 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, and fertilize lightly with a product with a 3-1-2 ration such as 17-7-10 or 15-5-10. The plant should settle down and start blooming in time.

In Florida bougainvilleas should be pruned after the winter bloom, usually in February. Pruning consists of cutting back the lateral shoots of the previous summer's growth to within two buds of the base of the past year's growth. Without this pruning, there will be few blooms.

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