bougainvillea problems...

theresainms(7b N.Central MS)April 16, 2002

My boug is getting white around the edges of the bracts; any idea what could be causing this? It does get almost entire day in sun. It's in a hanging planter I try to water at least every other day; is this too much? Thanks for any help!

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Yes. Too much. Stop watering them all together. Here in Florida, I have found that the less you water containerized bougainvilla the better they do. Once every 5 weeks is adequate down here. Im sure that up in your region, where the nights are probably cooler, even less water is required. Stop watering them for three weeks. If they dont get better, then I am incorrect and and you have something systemically wrong with your boug.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2002 at 7:53AM
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Datawgal(8/9 SC)

Five weeks????? Wow, I would have never thought they could go that long without water. Mine is in a large (18") container, one of those styrofoam one that keeps the soil cool, but it still droops after about 5 days without water.
Mine is in sun, should I put it in a shadier spot? What is your trick?

    Bookmark   April 17, 2002 at 2:11PM
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Its on the west side of my property, so it gets full sun for 1/2 the day. If your boug starts to droop that quickly, perhaps you shouldnt go five weeks without water. No trick, mine stays firm, as do most of the others I see that I am almost certain dont get artificially watered (were in a drought here, notwithstanding the torrents of the last 2 days, and winter is our dry season). Perhaps your boug is a different cultivar that isnot as hardy, or has been weakened by excessive soluble fertilizers like Miracle Grow. Also, if you water ANY plant too consistently, it's roots become timid, and the whole plant will fail to grow aggressively, esentially it becomes soft and weak and unaccustomed to dry periods. In any case, I would not start off doing five weeks no water. I would however stop watering every 5 day and start watering once per week. Do that for 3 weeks. Then water every ten days. Do that for another three weeks. And so forth. This may slowly build up a tolerance to drought in your boug. I know that when I got my first boug I watere it every other day. It stopped blooming, most of the leaves fell off and it looked fairly sickly. Not until I began to dry it out did it get stroneger and bloom. "benign neglect" is what this is called. Good luck!!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2002 at 8:07AM
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Chapps(z10 L.A.)

Yeah, five weeks without water is too excessive for most areas of the country. I'm guessing you might have fairly moist conditions there ... high humidity?

But it is true that you need to let the soil in the container dry out before watering, particularly if you want a mass of flowers. However, if you're looking to get some mass and/or height on your boug, water and feed a bit more. Here in Southern California, the entire landscape has exploded with bougainvillea flowerings .. most of them aren't watered except by runoff, and even old shacks are covered in mounds of pink and purple.

Good luck.


    Bookmark   April 21, 2002 at 10:02PM
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I dont think high humidity is it. 5 weeks is a winter season estimate and winter is our drought/dry season. weeks and weeks pass with no rainfall at all. When I stick my finger into the soil to test, it cmes back dry and sandy. Bougainvilla here thrive on the neglect. I cant imagine that conditions in/around So.Cal are that much different? Especially roadside conditions and, based on statements made here, the bougainvilla there bloom like mad. I recommend trying to slowly acclimatize your plant to dry conditions, as dry as possible.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2002 at 7:30AM
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I would have to agree with swflagrdnr on this one. Down on the coastal regions of Louisiana around Cocodrie the camps there have the most gorgeous bougs I have ever seen. Some people stay at their camps only once a year and live out of state. No one is there tending to these plants for 3/4 of the year. I drove down there just a week ago and they were gorgeous. (So are most of the camps.)

My mom was complaining about not being able to grow a bougainvillea. Everything else she grows is gorgeous. I think it is because she is an obsessive waterer.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2002 at 1:22AM
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This is great information! Thanks a bunch. My boug is in a 12" pot and gets watered by the sprinklers every other morning. It's a pitiful sight.

Think I'll plant it near my Texas sage which thrives on dry, sad soil and SW sun. Gets water only when it rains.

Or, if in the pot, should it still get water only when it rains?

    Bookmark   July 8, 2002 at 11:50AM
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I live in NW FL and have massive growth on mine during spring and summer but no blooms. I can see why now ~ It gets watered everyday! Thanks for the info on watering. Would a bloom boaster help?

    Bookmark   July 20, 2002 at 9:23AM
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i think bougs do better in the ground, not in small containers. or at least put it in a large container wtih something to 'climb' on.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2002 at 12:38PM
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bouganvilleas bloom the best when day and night are equal..(fall and spring), and loves high humidity, but prefers most of its watering in the hotter months..the cooler months just keep moist enough to keep it from wilting..and it should bloom beautifully...

    Bookmark   December 27, 2003 at 2:34AM
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Jeanni(z8 Guyton, GA)

Bougs actually like being pot-bound, so they don't mind being in small containers. Let them dry out between waterings. Also prune back after the bracts "flower" to get more colorful display. I've found mine to be heavy feeders during the growing season.

The older they are, the more likely they will come back each Spring from their roots. They are also very slow to break dormancy in the Spring, so be patient!


    Bookmark   December 28, 2003 at 8:35PM
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Shufly(8 Coastal N.Car)

Bougainvillea DO NOT like fertilizer
90% of all problems with this plant is from too much care, just water and it will give you tons of blooms, feed it and you will have tons of foliage with NO blooms. Shufly

    Bookmark   January 1, 2004 at 3:22PM
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Reading about these vines, i go t 2 last month, they were very small, about 2 feet long...then we had temps drop to 40s ( overningt) and they I think have died. Nonetheless, I have repotted them, but i think I did wrong by adding miracle gro garden much fertilizer...should I have done something different? I live near Austin, TX zone 8 b

    Bookmark   April 18, 2004 at 8:30PM
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Our neighbor left her Boug with us for the winter and it's dropping leaves like crazy and shows no signs of any new growth. It's vines are about 4 foot tall and it's attached to a wooden stake. I'm tempted to repot it because the soil ball looks like it hasn't been watered evenly, and then do a bit of pruning. Feedback would be appreciated.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2004 at 6:33PM
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I have 4 Bougainvillea trellis on my porch in an upstairs apartment that are not doing so well. They have plenty of sunlight, facing south, but are starting to lose their leaves and are looking sparse the last couple of months. I was watering them frequently, 2 out of the 4 were doing well. I was advised by a neighbor to not water them as much, I tried that idea, now all 4 are not looking good. I live in LA, it's January. Do Bougainvillea's have a season? Any help would be appreciated. Thank you!

    Bookmark   January 22, 2011 at 2:21AM
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I have a fairly new bougainvillea hanging on the same shepherd's hook as a bird feeder. It's a double-pronged shepherd's hook, so the plant is behind the feeder. It's doing fairly well although I wish it would bloom more. The birds love to perch on it. Do you think that is bad for the health of the plant?

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 3:58PM
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