bougainvilla not blooming second time this season - Knowledgebase Question

las cruces, nm
Avatar for sherry09
Question by sherry09
July 7, 2006
I bought your Judith Kurst bougainvilla in March, transplanted it in an 18 inch pot and placed in full sun all day especially in the afternoon.

In April the bracts were stunning for a couple of weeks. Then came the gusts of winds. Within 10 days the bracts were blown off the stems.

As of now there has not been any new growth. May I expect some new bracts this season?

Answer from NGA
July 7, 2006
Bougainvillea can bloom year around in frost free weather, so yes, more color is certainly possible. Bougainvilleas like to be a little "stressed" for water and nutrients, actually blooming better under these conditions. In the ground, they really don?t need any fertilizer once established; in a container no more than once per month during the growing season or every other month otherwise. Use a product for blooming plants with a higher middle number, which is phosphorus, such as 5-10-5. Phosphorus promotes bloom. They also need full sun to bloom, however full sun in a relatively small pot can be very stressful in the Southwest's summer heat. Soil in a pot heats up tremendously, and can actually "cook" the roots. So, you need to monitor to make sure the soil doesn't dry out too much, but not overwater, which they don't like! You might try putting the container inside a larger container, which acts as a buffer from the direct sun. Also put a layer of mulch (dried leaves, bark chips, etc.) on top of the soil to retain moisture and moderate temperatures. I hope this info helps!

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