Bougainvillea brought in for the winter

lipwak(6/NY)October 12, 2005

Hi,

I have a two year old Bougainvillea that I brought in around labor Day. I haven't watered it since then. It seems to do better without my watering it often and it seems happy inside! The bracts are appearing more than they did outside! and lots of little leaves are budding! Some leaves have fallen off lately so I am thinking it is time for some water.

I've heard they sort of shut down in winter when brought inside. With the bracts being so prolific is mine shutting down? And all these new leaves. It doesn't seem to be unhappy. Are these bracts the last hurrah before shutting down/dying? I didn't get bracts when I brought it in last year but I also watered it alot more then.

When leaves start falling off, that is my cue to water it although some fall off for awhile normally when it is brought inside. I may water it soon anyway but wanted to know what you'all thought.

It is in the same pot it hangs in when outside but underneath it is bowl that will catch whatever water will drain out of it. It is on top of a bureau where half the leaves (the ones with the bracts at this point) are in the sunny kitchen and the other half are in the less sunny living room.

Cheers,

John

(not a Southerner but someone who does love the South.)

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Minxie(3)

I have never tried indoor growng with mine. Doubt I have enough light. The pulling back on watering I use to force the bloom. I feed with a time release granular bloom fertilizer, water thoroughly...then i let the plant dry until it wilts slightly before watering again...usually 3 weeks later its covered in bracts and flowers(such as they are). Mine are outside all year unless temp gets below 30 which happens every 7-8 years

    Bookmark   October 13, 2005 at 6:29AM
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poiu(10b/11)

you leaves may be dropping primarily due to the shift in light--indoors the plant will get much less intense sunlight, and, up North, the intensity of the sun is weakening by the day.

Bouganvilleas would naturally flower in the DRY season, with ample light (for example, her ein Florida, south Texas and in southern California, all outdoor Bouganvilleas are just starting to come into their prime)

Monitor you plant, and give it as much DIRECT sun indoors as you can. Rotate the pot ever week to let all sides of plant get sun, and allow the soil to get quite dry before you water. And then, when you do water, less is better, especially in the winter indoors.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2005 at 10:27PM
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lipwak(6/NY)

Thanks so much.

When should I water? How do I tell when it is due? I have seen dead leaves on the branches in the past, don't have them now. Would one water when it starts to look like one or two leaves may be dying? It is in the same pot I bought it in two years ago. I am not sure what the soil mix is but it has little white spongy things in it and black earth...

I am looking forward to lots of blooms this winter!

Cheers,

John

    Bookmark   October 13, 2005 at 11:01PM
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lipwak(6/NY)

Hi all,

The plant has survived a few winters inside. I brought it outside a few days ago, watered it and now, in the almost 90 degree days (50/60 at night) the plant looks like it is in bad shape.

See pics here
http://www.flickr.com/photos/lipwak/513902463/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/lipwak/513902473/

I am tempted to refrain from watering it but in this heat it could be deadly for it. What do you think is going on?

Many thanks.

John L

    Bookmark   May 25, 2007 at 5:24PM
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xerophyte_nyc(7)

I could of course be wrong, but it looks like sunburn, in which case make sure it is watered adequately and the new leaves will be normal.

Bougs are notorious for dropping their leaves and looking very bad when there is a sudden change in its growing environment.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2007 at 7:59PM
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lipwak(6/NY)

Interesting. Thanks!

    Bookmark   May 25, 2007 at 8:14PM
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birdsnblooms

Lipwak, could be sunburn..Does your pot have drainage holes? When you set outside, did you put out immediately or acclimate? Setting even a sun loving plant out in direct light can burn leaves..(even in shady spots this is known to happen)
Cut back plant..it should grow out fine..Toni

    Bookmark   May 26, 2007 at 3:23PM
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lipwak(6/NY)

Thanks. It does have drainage holes. I watered it the day I put it out, 5/22, but haven't since. I didn't acclimate it. I think the sunburn happened yesterday (5/25) which was the hottest day we've had so far this year.

Should I water it? I am afraid to overwater. We will probably have rain over the next two days so watering it today may be a mistake. I have also taken it out of the sun. It's in the shade but still outside now. It's lost lots of leaves but I am hopeful it will come back. I am always hesitant to cut it back but that may be a good idea as well.

Thanks so much.

John L

    Bookmark   May 26, 2007 at 3:41PM
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xerophyte_nyc(7)

If the shape of the plant is to your liking, you don't necessarily need to cut it back - definitely put it in the shade, it's had enough stress, water it well once, then hold back until you start to see new leaves growing - at that point, put it in the sun and start to water and fertilize, hot weather will make it grow fast. If you don't see new buds forming within a week, water lightly again.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2007 at 8:25PM
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lipwak(6/NY)

I guess I could cut it back some. It is pretty gangly.

With the rain predicted for the next few days, should I just wait for that or would some water right now, be better? Since it is outside now, should I bring in inside once it has been watered, to keep it being soaked? (Wait for new leaves then bring it out once they appear?)

Many thanks.

John L

    Bookmark   May 26, 2007 at 8:30PM
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xerophyte_nyc(7)

do you have an awning or something overhead as protection from excess rain? Fresh air and humidity outdoors cannot be duplicated inside no matter how hard you try, otherwise, i think the rain should be OK as long as it is warm at night and your mix drains very well.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2007 at 9:24AM
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lipwak(6/NY)

Thanks so much for all this help!

The plant is in the shade by the side of the house but it is not covered. I am wondering, should I water it today or wait for the rain tomorrow? It doesn't look like it will rain until tomorrow so if it is good to water it, I should probably water it today.

And I guess it's ok to cut it back but I wonder would that be too much stress on the plant at this stage? Should I wait until a few days after it's been put back in the sun? Doing too much to it while it is stressed I would think would be bad, but then again, it may be just what the plant needs (emergency treatment). I don't know.

Many thanks.

John L

    Bookmark   May 27, 2007 at 1:29PM
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xerophyte_nyc(7)

Some of the best Bouganvillea info can be found right here, everything you need to know is in there

    Bookmark   May 27, 2007 at 4:26PM
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lipwak(6/NY)

Thanks. That's a wonderful resource.

I watered them a little while ago so let's see how they do. (The soil was dry on top...)

Cheers,

John

    Bookmark   May 27, 2007 at 4:56PM
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stressbaby(z6 MO)

I am just a hobbyist with but one boug, but FWIW, I disagree with the repotting information in the link above.

"I do not recommend root pruning when you repot your bougainvillea - in fact, disturb the roots as little as possible because the plant might go into shock and take weeks to recover. For this reason, you should always pot into a larger container than the old one."

I have a Boug that I brought inside for a few years until I built my GH. Now it goes in the GH in the winter. It has taken all kinds of abuse...pruning, variable watering...finally the 24" clay pot was too big and too heavy, so I did a little experiment...and I did everything he says NOT to do in that link, and this plant didn't miss a beat.

There is the rootball in December when I repotted. The top has been hard pruned.

I downsized the pot by 2 inches by shaving off about 2 inches of the rootball all the way around.

The plant grew and bloomed all winter without missing a beat. You read this Boug "fragile root system" business all the time, but my experience just doesn't support that.

Also, he recommends a peat-based soil mix, and he says you can keep them in a 1 gallon pot for three years. Peat-based mixes are fine for short term plantings, but for long-term plantings (a year or more) you need a soil mix that will retain its structure. Peat-based mixes will collapse and compact and lead to root problems. I prefer a mix using bark. A series of excellent discussions on this topic, initiated by Tapla, can be found on the Container Gardening forum.

Here is a link that might be useful: Third thread in the Tapla container media series

    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 8:41AM
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xerophyte_nyc(7)

yep, boug is a popular bonsai subject, so obviously it can handle root pruning.

i agree about the peat, it is unstable beyond 18 months or so, in my experience.

i linked that article because it has lots of good info, i don't necessarily agree with all of it either but it is a good place to start.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 7:17PM
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jovobi55(6)

I have a 2 year old bouganvillea. I brought it in last fall and put in my sunniest window, which is a basement window in the winter. I watered just enough to sustain life. It lost all leaves and looked dead.Then ,miraculously it got 3 leaves in Feb. So when it was warm enough to place in my unheated sunporch(April), it sprouted more leaves but still didn't look well. I placed outside in May and it flourished beyond belief, although it only got 2 pink blossoms the whole season.I did break off a lot of very brittle branches before placing on porch. Could I have pruned too severely?

    Bookmark   September 20, 2007 at 10:04PM
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lipwak(6/NY)

Nothing really to add to the above except coincidentally I brought in the Boug... (I'd never call it that but I didn't feel like typing out the whole name and now I am typing all this...) just yesterday so it was fun to see post on this today.

Cheers,

John L
~30 miles north of NYC. Too soon to bring it in?

    Bookmark   September 20, 2007 at 10:31PM
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