I couldn't resist one today. There are loads of baby brachts. Roselee...don't you do these really well? I believe some others do too. What should I feed it? How much sun keeps yours going.
If anyone can tell you, Cynthia, it will be Roselee, her's are beautiful....she'll chime in shortly.
From what I remember, they bloom best when they're kept on the dry side. But, Roselee has a lot more experience with them than I do! I do think they're annuals up here, though...although they'd probably have survived this last winnter.
Congratulations on buying a bougainvillea. I have nine of them ... LOL! Some of them must be getting close to 20 years old and are still in two to three gallon pots. They are my favorite plant for summer color and bloom just about non stop in my yard. If they take a little rest it's not more than a couple of weeks at most.
First off they like full hot blasting sun all day or as many hours as you can give them. Tex-ag is right about not watering them until they are dry. In the hot months that's just about everyday for my plants, but they are so old there are mostly roots in the pots and not all that much soil.
I fertilize them a lot, but not until they are actively growing after being taken out of their winter quarters. That's an overwintering greenhouse house for me. Some people tie up the branches and keep them in the garage, just taking them out on warm days to get a little light. They don't need warmth in the winter -- just keep the temperature above freezing. The bougainvilleas lose almost all their leaves in winter, but are quick to put them back on as soon as taken outside. I trim them back by about half in spring. Incidentally, they are watered about once a month in winter.
But back to the fertilizing. I poke a 2 year Agriform fertilizer pellet into the pot every spring and later when they are blooming well they get something to eat whenever I think about it which is probably every couple of weeks. Sometimes it's a few time release pellets, sometimes I put a tablespoon or so of powedered fertilzer in the pot and water it in. That's the kind is meant to be dissolved in a gal. of water, but it's too heavy for me to lift because all mine are on plant stands throughout the yard.
It seems to me they don't require all that much care for what they offer. They bloom their heads off as long as they get full sun plus enough water and fertizer. One thing to watch out for with all plants in pots is that the water isn't just running down a crack in the soil and out the bottom leaving the roots dry. I use a $5 soil moisture meter to make sure the root ball is getting wet. If the soil dries out I let the hose barely trickle into the pot until the soil gets soaked. Or if possible I set the pot in a pan of water so it can absorb water that way.
About every three or four years I take them out of the pots and pull as much soil from around the roots as I can and repot them in fresh Miracle Gro potting soil.
Here's a link that tells how this person takes care of her bougies. Her's are much larger pots than mine.
Oh one more thing. I put a layer of volcanic rock on top of the soil so I can water them with the hose without the soil splashing out.
Hope this helps. Happy colorful gardening with your new bougie!
Here is a link that might be useful: Hungry for color: How to make bougainvilleas bloom
Thank you Roselee! :+]
I suspect my past problem was too little sun. I had a few. They would stop blooming within a month or so of purchase. I'd put them in my little greenhouse and they would bloom in January.
I don't think I've seen Agriform plant things but I'll look online.
Years ago we stayed in the Hotel Bougainvillea in Costa Rica. In January the hedge was not at its best and was still stunning.
I will follow your tips. thanks again
Your plant may not need the large two year Agriform tablets since it is young. Mine were several years old when I discovered them. But the point is they like to be fed when actively growing and blooming, but I think sun is the greatest stimulant for bloom. Incidentally, nurseries sometimes carry the tablets for sale singularly for 20 to 30 cents each.
The size that they grow to in tropical areas is amazing. They can get almost tree size and completely covered with blooms. I had a friend who is originally from Peru that actually laughed when she saw mine in pots.
I had a neighbor that couldn't get hers to bloom. We gave them a little Epsom salt and have been blooming ever since.
Thanks, Roselee, for the detailed info. Full blasting sun in central Texas is okay, then? I've never been able to keep mine alive more than a couple years, though I usually fertilize heavily as you advise and they do bloom well before kicking the bucket, lol.
Is there a color that seems hardier than others? Purple maybe?
Jen, all the colors do well for me. As for cold hardiness none of them will take a hard freeze in a pot. I wonder if the pot size might have something to do with why they die since lots of times they come in a small hanging basket which drys out quickly. My next door neighbor buys them, hangs them, and forgets to water them. You might try transplanting it into a larger pot when you bring it home and watch that the root ball is getting soaked when you water. When the potting soil with lots of peat moss dries it doesn't rehydrate easily. I have shallow plant saucers under all of mine which helps as they absorb the water that sits in the saucer even though it is a small amount.
And yes, the more hot sun the better, but it does dry the soil quickly.
Not many plants give more color bang for the buck than bougies!
Roselee: I found the tablets on Amazon. Do you know the ratios? I didn't realize I'd have a choice. They are made by Scotts so I guess they have a variety of everything.
If you know or if there is a name please let me know.
I know what you mean about the joy of their color. I got a hot pink and I keep looking out the window and smiling!
The ratio for the Agriform tablets is 20-10-5
But there is a 21 gram tablet or a 10 gram tablet. I'm guessing you are using the larger one? I'll look for the smaller one or cut it in half.
You're right Cynthia, it's the 21 gram tablets I use. I used to buy them by the box and saved about half when a nursery I frequented sold them to me.
we have some that bloom in pretty heavy shade. Jim has turned a ton of them into bonsai, I have to plant really fast when I bring home a new boug! They get ignored, neglected, dry out and bloom like fiends. The bonsai get fertilized but the ones in the yard rarely if ever, then only if it happens to be poured in their area. My Aunt has one in her front yard that has a trunk as big as my waist, we thought Ike killed it but it came back. It has never had any care whatsoever and covers her house in bright pink blooms most of the year.
Just don't overwater it and you'll be fine, ours got no water during the drought and never quit blooming.
This post reminds me of how poorly bougainvillea is treated in india yet how well it performs. I remember my mom used to literally get it chopped. These are also called paper flowers and are never used to adorn God idols. Poor bougies get a second class treatment :) so when my mom visited, I took her to a nursery and she was shocked to see the pricetag of a bougainvillea.
ibheri...I am still smiling! Everything is a week somewhere and every weed is treasured by someone or something...grins.
TallyHO and Roselee. Do yours get light at night? I was told that will keep them from blooming. It dawned on me that neighbor leaves lights on all night. Of course, that's where I found the most sun and mine looks great.
It doesn't get light shining on it. I hope that's OK. I'm starting to feel a little obsessive. It sure is gorgeous and I keep looking at it.
A google search says that some bougainvilleas are day light sensitive. Years ago I had one bougie, a beautiful purple, that wouldn't bloom until fall. I finally got rid of it.
It seems the newer cultivars are less or non sensitive to the length of daylight hours. There is a street light in the access area behind my yard that is on all the time, plus I have lights in the yard that stay on all night, but the bougies don't seem to be affected. They start showing color as soon as they begin to leaf out in the spring, like now.
Below are some tips for growing bougies, but it must be for growing them in the ground rather than in pots as it goes against some of the things I do such as fertilize heavily and water every day in the hottest months, also I water some in the winter. It mentions using epson salts as suggested above. It's interesting to see how sometimes what works for you goes against what is recommended by the 'experts'. One thing that all sources agree on is their need for sun.
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Bougainvillea Won't Bloom
Posted by Steve Bender, July 15, 2008 in Vines , You Ask, I Answer
Q: My bougainvillea vine was blooming when I bought it and has grown like a weed. Someone told me not to water it too much so I've withheld water--still no blooms. What kind of fertilizer should I use? It gets some shade.
A: Will you feel better if I tell you that lots of people have the very same problem? No? OK, here are some suggestions.
1. Plant in full sun. The more sun your plant gets, the more blooms you'll get. Bougainvillea will not bloom in shade.
2. Don't water. This vine is well-adapted to arid climates where there are defined wet and dry seasons.
3. Go easy on nitrogen fertilizer or you'll get all leaves and no blooms. Try feeding it once a month in summer with a tablespoon of Epsom salts dissolved in a gallon of water.
4. To get blooms, the vine needs to go dormant between September and February. Absolutely do not feed or water during this time.
5. Vines tend to bloom at times when nights are longer than days or the day-length is decreasing. Some selections are more day-length sensitive than others.
According to another article which linked below there are several species of Bougainvillea and many hybrids have been developed.
Here is a link that might be useful: Bougainvillea 101: Care & Maintenance, Tips & Tricks
mine are never in the dark, between the streetlights, the neighbors lights, our lights, the lights at the resale shop across the alley.
The ones in Hawaii are totally ignored, kind of like ours, and you gotta go after them with machetes.
I have one in the very back of my plant room that I just cut back severely last year in order to have more room in there. It did not get sunlight except through the other plants, so imagine my surprise when I saw bracts on it the other day. May have to reconsider bringing it out again.
I have had mine in a pot for several years. It has not stopped blooming since last summer. I keep it in my heated greenhouse in winter. I think I read years ago that they bloom best when root-bound.
All I can say....after reading all of these great messages...that bougies are like people.
Some are really easy to please and happy to bloom for no reason at all.
Others want special care and hold back their color until someone figures out what they really want.
Excuse me if I jump in to sympathize, empathize, from a like climate. And I'm curious - What happened with these various bougs this year?
I planted a boug in the yard last spring, totally sunny spot, with a great pole to support it. It was blooming when I bought it, but that didn't last long, and although it came back this year (I covered it in a 3-foot pile of leaves in December) and grew like crazy, parts are 6 ft. tall now, but still no blooms.
I's hot pink and was blooming when I bought it in the spring. I put a small amount of compost at the base this spring, and have lightly mulched around it with leaves/grass from the mower bag, to try to keep it from drying out so quickly and so we don't have to mow close to its' base. Rarely watered it except when it looked wilted and didn't perk up overnight. I don't think the soil is too fertile for a vine that likes poor, neglected conditions, it's in the midst of a vast expanse of lawn, and every formerly-lawn spot I've converted has needed a lot of help to get decent plants growing (that like a more fertile, humusy soil. I'm going to try this epsom salt thing if it's alive again next year. Glad I found this thread and wish I had looked into this sooner! It just looks so healthy and vigorous, I've been expecting it to explode with blooms but it's probably too late this year.
My Aunt has one by the corner of her house. The trunk is bigger than my waist. We thought it died in Ike, it`s been there for about 10 years now. She whacked it back, was going to get a chainsaw to cut up the trunk but never got around to it. 2 YEARS after Ike it started sprouting and is now covering the house. It has never been fed, watered only the first month she planted it, survived the hard freezes that killed everything else on the island and is covered in blooms.
I followed the instructions and here is what happened. T bought 6 bougies in all 3 from the end of season clearance sale in June. They have ebbed and flowed every few weeks. Each time bigger and more beautiful.
I mixed up a 2 gallon watering can with a heaping spoon of MG 20/20/20 each Sunday. I distributed it between the 7 plants. They are in full balzing Sun. In the hottest partof the summer I had to water morning and evening. The hanging baskets are hung on hooks. The bigger pots are wedged between the wood fance and the top of the chainlink fence.
Thak you Roselee!
I stopped fertilizing and plan to move them into my greenhouse this winter. Is it OK is I do NOT prune them back or is it better to prune back?
After this summer's show I know I am talking to the master of bougie bliss.
Because I just learned how to post a picture.
WOW! I'm glad you learned ... :-) They are nothing less than gorgeous. Plus now you can show us other parts of your garden.
As to cutting them back I'd say not to. I cut mine back this spring after reading that they'd grow back their long stems in a few weeks, but they took all summer to do it. From now on I'll do as I've done for years -- just tie them up so they won't take up so much room. Bunching them up by tying doesn't hurt them. They loose most of their leaves in my crowded little green house anyway. I do water them occasionally.
thank you again Roell. I will tie them into bunches and hang them in the greenhouse. It doesn't get a lot of Sun but it will keep them from freezing.
I am so glad you encouraged me to grow them with you success. Every day there is so much activity with these plants and they really bring a great deal of joy.
Those bougies are beautiful and have encouraged me to try a couple more of them. I just want to clarify one thing regarding the pruning. It seems that you are saying to put them away for the winter without pruning, but prune them pretty heavily in the spring when new growth is visible?
I pruned them back in the spring once, but decided not to do it again since it took them longer to start blooming and all summer to grow back the long stems. I just tie them up so things are less crowded in the green house and cut the ties after I set them back on their stands. There will be a few broken and dead stems which are trimmed and some that might be the way of something else and those I trim, but not otherwise.
Every three or four years in the spring I lay the 2 or 3 gallon pots on their sides before untying, unpot them, and dig out all the soil I can from the roots. Then new potting soil (I like Miracle-gro) is pressed down into the roots. Lava rock is put on the surface as a mulch and to keep the soil from splashing out when watered. Occasionally it's seen that the soil has receded so I take out the lava rock and press more potting soil into the pot. Bougies are thorny so gloves with long cuffs are helpful when doing these little operations.
Bougies and phlox provide more color in the garden than anything else I have. Wishing you all the very best with them.
(If there are other questions that I might be able to answer just ask :-)
I hope this pops up on the current forum. I posted images here of my bougies in late Sept. 2012.
They are gorgeous! I love that huge datura too! Are those tall zinnias? Looks like a fabulous butterfly garden!
Yes HUGE zinnias...I'm 5'9".
i have a greenhouse i winter my boogies & they bloom all winter, take a rest when i 1st move them to yard & go crazy again. when i do cut them back i take cutting to start new 1's.
i put used coffee grinds & a little bone meal on them, the bone meal twice a year, the coffee grinds all year long. i also pour cold coffee on them as well.( i hate stale coffee so i'm always making another pot)
any one have a bronze colored boogie, i'd love to have a start in a pot, rooted preferably.
Mine did not bloom much last summer, but did fine during the winter months and have started to bloom again this spring. It is against the front of the house and is shaded by a Oak tree every morning. I never knew about fertilizing as all I had heard was they did not need fertilizing in fact the less the better. But after seeing the blooms here I sure know better. Mine has blooms here and there. It did freeze back to the ground a couple years back and I thought it had died but then a few green shoots came up. I still was not sure as the leaves were twice the size they were before, but that changed later. The first time a saw a large one was down near the coast, it was well over 40 feet long ran from the house all they way back past the back of their garage. But then a few years later there was nothing. Has anyone been able to root cuttings? I followed instructions on the web and not one put on roots.
I planted my bouganvilla in 1995. For the past 10 years they have not bloomed, I read an article this past winter, on bouganvilla, it said they only bloom on new growth. Last week I took a chainsaw and cut them back to 2 ft high. That was very painful, even with leather gloves.I hope the article is correct. I will let you know this summer, how they are doing. Barbra
Bougainvilleas especially need lots of sun to bloom well.
The weekly fertilizer and full blazing sun worked for me.