what is wrong with my bougainvillea?

jumbojimmy(Australa)June 6, 2007

The leaves look distorted - like some kind of insect attacking it but I don't know what kind of insect...or maybe it's some kind of disease?

Is it okay to pull out or the leaves out? will pulling out all the leaves out make my bougainvillea leggy/straggy (Spelling?).

The other problem I'm having with this bougainvillea is that when I bought this plant- the brackets was pink - now it's crimson in color.

It's autumn by the way in here.

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Jimmy, except for a few brown edges your Boug looks good..
Inspect plant thoroughly for insects..check for fine webbing (spider mites) white cottony patches (mealy) brown lumps (scale) white 1/4" white flying bugs, (white fly) green jumping bugs (aphids) Some pests like mites are difficult locating..that is until the plant is so infested, they make webbs. The insects I listed are most common, and some come in other colors than mentioned.
Do leaves feel sticky?
Inspect upper, under leaves, and stems. Some bugs have a way of finding a great hiding spot.
Are you allowing soil to dry out? Bougs don't like wet feet. Soil needs to dry between waterings. Since it's fall in your area, it's time to reduce watering.
Is the air dry or humid?
Is your boug evergreen or deciduous? Cutting back won't resolve the problem if your problem is insects.
For the time being, hose foliage (not soil)
BTW, if you don't mind me asking, what country are you from? Toni

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 7:01PM
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hopefulauthor - thanks for your reply.

I did inspect the plant and found a small green caterpillar. I also found some white cottony patches that u mentioned. I had to pull out all the infected leaves out. Hopefully new shoots will grow from there - or else i will have to put up with a straggy(Sp?) plant.

I don't water my bougan because we have some rainfall every week. I'm from australia. my bougan variety is mary palmer. I'm not sure whether its evergreen or deciduous but I do know it's evergreen.

i don't understand why the flowering brackets turn crimson red - when i got this plant it was pink. probably not enough sun due to autumn.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 7:28PM
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Jim, oh oh..if you have white patches, then your plant has mealy bug..First, isolate from other plants..this bug is super contageous.
One way to rid them is by swiping them using either cotton balls or Q-tips dipped in rubbing alcohol..You'll probably have to do this a few times before they're all dead, including eggs. Do they sell Fish Emulsion there? If so, spray once a wk, 1 capful and water in a 16oz mister bottle. Spray solution thoroughly..some ppl even add a bit of rubbing alcohol in this mix. It may need to be done 3 times before bugs are extinct.
Mealy are nothing to mess with..
I'm assuming the brackets turned red due to excess sun..I don't think you have anything to worry about..especially now that autumn is there.

You wrote, 'I'm not sure if it's evergreen or deciduous but I do know it's evergreen.' LOL..So I'm guessing it's evergreen, which means leaves remain on plant throughout winter..Hope you rid those darn bugs..Toni

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 3:44PM
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Thanks Tori for your advice. I'll give it a try.

That was a typing error. I wanted to say I didn't know there's an evergreen bougainvillea. I always thought all bougainvilleas are deciduous. Hopefully mine is an evergreen variety.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 9:09AM
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Hi Jim..nope, there's both types..evergreen and deciduous.
I had 4 beautiful Bougs that were set outside in summer..that yr we had our roof done..the idiots working on the roof tossed debris over the roof onto my bougs, and the 1st rose, an Abe Lincold, I've ever grown.. because everything was buried for days on end, they all died. I was totally disgusted.
One was a pretty Raspberry Ice which is deciduous..I also had a Jamacan White and CA gold..the latter were evergreen..In fact the JW bloomed in winter..I've only 1 boug now, can't recall its name, but flowers are orange/pink and evergreen. This one doesn't bloom in winter.
How's your boug doing? Toni

    Bookmark   June 9, 2007 at 4:32PM
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paxetamor(7b Abilene TX)

Your Bougainvillea will never do well in your area. Send it to me. Grinning, Mick -- Abilene, TX

    Bookmark   June 11, 2007 at 7:15PM
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I shouldn't have pulled out all the damaged leaves...now my plant looks like a stick. What can I do to encourage more new leave growth? Would "pegging" works for bougainvilleas?

BTW - is it okay to pull out the stick/stem where flowering bracts used to be?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2007 at 9:17PM
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kelpie473(9b sw Fla)

Yes, I think you could pull out the stems where the flowering bracts were if you want to. Prune it after blooming to shape (that would cover the stick question). My experience is that some of the scars on the leaves are from the thorns and yes, caterpillars love them. Use low nitrogen fertilizer to promote blooming and cut back on water in the fall for spring blooms - that would be the opposite for you I guess. It's from Brazil so you have it on the right side of the equator. The color on yours is beautiful too.

Some bouganvilleas always seem to want to climb and they are the ones that always look sort of unkempt in the wrong spot, they want something like a tree to go 30 or 40 feet into the sky; my neighbor has one that we only see in the tops of her live oaks. In north Florida they may freeze to the ground but will come back from the roots. You may not have to worry about freezing like that but it shows they can take some hard pruning after they're established.

They do love heat and sun but in San Francisco they have some that are as gorgeous as any I've seen in florida.


    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 5:45PM
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