Bougainvillea - Knowledgebase Question

Name: Paul Minnich
suisun city, ca
Avatar for mminnich0822
Question by mminnich0822
July 26, 2005
What kind of soil conditions are best for Bougainvilleas? Do they like acidic or alkaline soil? Do they like a sandy soil? Any other tips you can give me would be appreciated.

Thank you, Ann Minnich

Answer from NGA
July 26, 2005
Bougainvilleas will thrive in almost any soil as long as it is well-drained and fertile. Soils that work for other plants you grow will be fine for your bougainvillea.

You must feed your plant with a balanced fertilizer, either dry or water soluable. The key is balance. 20-20-20 with minor elements works fine. For the last few years, I have used 15-5-15 ca-mg with chelated Iron as my primary fertilizer, If you know the ph of your water and the ph of your soil, you can tailor a specific fertilize program. It is very important that the nitrogen source of whatever fertilize you use is from calcium nitrate. (Urea and ammonium nitrate both have caused me problems when feeding Bougainvillea) Note: Peters 20-20-20 or Miracle-Grow will work just fine.

Bougainvilleas thrive in full sun. At least 5 hours a day of full sunlight is the minimal light required for good bloom. More hours of direct sun is better. Less than 5 hours and the plant may not bloom very well. In shade or partial shade, you will have nice vegetative growth, but little or no bloom.

Bougainvillea has two distint growth cycles:
A vegetative growth period for seveal weeks -- when new leaves and stems grow.

If the plant receives enough sunlight the plant will form buds during this time. If there is not enough sunlight, the plant will remain in vegetative cycle.
A blooming period of several weeks when little or no vegetative growth occurs.

The length of time they will bloom is dependent upon the health of the plant and the environment they are in, the more sun and heat, the better.

Hope this answers all your questions!

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