Bougainvillea - Knowledgebase Question

San Diego, CA
Question by shelley2
October 11, 1998
Two years ago my condo complex planted three trellises of bougainvillea outside my unit. They had leaves and flowers the first few months, but have steadily lost all blooms one and most of the leaves. Our landscapers can't figure out why a couple of the plants at our complex are doing well and blooming regularly, but the rest of ours look almost dead. Their care for nice and not-nice plants is the same: sprinkler system but no pruning or trimming or fertilizing. Any suggestions?


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Answer from NGA
October 11, 1998

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Bougainvillea's are very susceptible to transplant shock because their roots are fragile, so perhaps that's the answer to why some plants are thriving and some are not. Bougainvillea's vibrant colors come not from its small flowers, but from the three large bracts that surround them. They bloom on new shoots that develop from old wood, so pruning them back in the spring and summer will encourage new flowering wood. If the plants are small, just pinch the tips out and the stems will branch out. The plants will need some shelter from hot afternoon sunshine, and require very little water once they're established. (Until then, supply about one-inch of water per week to the root area.) Hope this information helps!

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