Help with balcony/Bougainvillea

pinkthumb_ca(z9 CA)February 27, 2007

We moved about 8 months ago and we took our thrice-saved-from-death bougainvilleas with us. When we left, both were beaming and full of flowers [one is bright red & one is the fuschia, & I'm very sorry that I don't more than that about them - I'm not a very knowledgeable gardene...I just LOVE looking at them!]. They were both near a fence which allowed them plenty of sun from morning till about 1-2PM and by then the sun was on the other side of the fence so it was filtered a bit. We moved to a 2nd-floor apartment with a 6x20 balcony facing the bay (i.e., lots of wind and afternoon sun) which, at the time we moved, I figured would not bother these now-hardy survivors; but not long after we brought them (end of June), they both started losing flowers & their leaves started looking a little the worse for wear ...*sort of* like leaf curl, but not. They're hanging on --one even burst out with a little bouquet of gorgeous pink-- but the red one isn't buying it. I think it misses its sheltered spot by the fence, even though the nasty neighbor downstairs used to pour dirty dishwater and leftover whiskey on it from time to time.


Should I be doing something in particular to help them both revive and thrive as they were last year, or is it just not a good spot for bougainvilleas? My red grass is not exactly thrilled either, although it's doing better than the 2 flashy favorites. ANY ideas/help would be so very much appreciated - I don't want to lose these two, especially after I've brought them back from the brink a few times already. I haven't given them any fertilizer at all, as yet, either.

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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

I had one for a bit before mealies got to it. :-\ But I have found that the leaves were sortof thin and fragile and in a very windy spot, if it's not large and well established yet, it can take a beating.

They seem to like to be potbound and will bloom the best like that. However note that they bloom on new growth and usually go through a cycle of forming their colorful bracts (with a tiny flower in the middle), then resting for a bit, then they'll go through a vegetative period (new leaf and stem growth), and then finally the ends will color up to form the new colored bracts and flowers. So on smaller plants, they will appear to just sit there for awhile with nothing going on. For the large in-ground plants, the same goes on but those are so big that parts of it are always going through some sort of flowering cycle so the whole thing looks like it is flowering.

Anyway, although many suggest not fertilizing bougies, I would still put a little in a potted one - enough to get it back into a growth cycle so that it will eventually form bracts. Try to put it in as much sun as possible as less than ideal sun will mean much less flowering if any at all. And if it is small, try to keep it out of the worst of winds...

Hope your babies will get settled!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2007 at 11:46AM
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whytephoenix(z9a Houston)

They seem to like to pout sometimes, especially if you molest their roots. I bought one not long ago. After repotting and being moved during our frosts a few times, it shed every single leaf and bract it had. it looked like a stick for a month, but it is finally getting some new leaves.

If there's a way to give it some shelter without blocking the sun, do it... other than that, it will probably adjust to the new spot with time. Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2007 at 11:06PM
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They definitely prefer being rootbound in pots, and are tempermental. I've found if I fertilize much it will go completely vegetative for a while before it flowers, so I only fertilize lightly once or twice a year. I have one that is 12 years old and hasn't been repotted since I bought it. My other one is in a hanging basket and probably needs to be moved where it won't get much wind. The flower bracts get blown off sometimes, and I'm sure it dries out faster than its bigger friend.

They also take well to cutting back once they are well established. Then you get bushier plants instead of leggy ones, which is nice on a balcony. Mine soak up as much sun as I can get them, and as long as they are well drained, definitely enjoy regular thorough water. If you can keep them alive, they are definitely rewarding.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 7:00PM
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As a houseplant, it needs a LOT of sun, 6 hrs wasn't quite enough. Can you bring it in out of the wind, and give it extra lighting, and maybe a mirror? Water it once with some weak tea, as it may be fighting fungal problems.
What can be used as an airy windbreak? How about a bucket fountain? The wind may be striping humidity.
Take a peak at the soil in the pot, is it appropriate?
Struggled with one for years, with almost enough light. It was only happy in the summer. Moved to much more light, and humidity, it did well. They dont like sudden temp. changes-at all, it may get wind chills.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2007 at 6:52PM
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