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Bougainvillea wilting/dropping leaves

Posted by rumpelstiltskin 8A (My Page) on
Fri, Jun 30, 06 at 19:06


I'm in Dallas, zone 8A, and have a large potted bougainvillea that sits out on our pool deck. It gets full sun probably 8 hours a day.

It didn't start to bloom until a few weeks ago. Before that time, the leaves were just fine. They weren't falling off and the plant never wilted.

Before it started blooming, I didn't really water my boug all that much.

Now, it seems like it needs water every day. The temps have been in the low-to-mid 90's here in Dallas over the past couple of weeks. I have been watering it when the leaves start to wilt.

They now wilt mid afternoon and I do notice that it is shedding some of its leaves.

When I probe the soil using a Rapitest moisture meter (range 1-4, 1 approaching complete dry, 4+ is wet), it says that the soil is a 3. Down near the bottom of the pot, it's at 4 (wet).

Am I overwatering this plant?

I have a feeling I'm giving my boug too much attention.

Should the the soil be "dry" all the way down before I water it again?

If I cam overwatering this, what I can I do to restore this quickly so I don't have a wilting plant sitting in my backyard for weeks...

Sorry for the long post.


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Bougainvillea wilting/dropping leaves

I think it is getting too much water. A four on a water meter is prob too wet for bouggies. I let mine dry out under a 1 for my potted ones. It is hard not too overbaby them when they are blooming and looking beautiful lol. I am guilty of this myself.
They seem to need a little more water when blooming but I tend to overwater more than underwater in general, so I wait for that meter to read <1 .
They are tough drought resistant plants so I wouldnt worry that they dont get enough water.
When I lived in Phx,AZ, they had them planted on the freeway dividers in hot sun and asphalt and they bloom like mad. The only water they got was from mother nature lol.
good luck

RE: Bougainvillea wilting/dropping leaves

Just a follow-up. It turns out that it needed water. During these hot summer months, my bouga needs water just about everyday. I water it until it pools up in the tray (usually about 2 gallons of water - it's a large pot). It recovers usually in a hour or so.

RE: Bougainvillea wilting/dropping leaves

Wow... it's much hotter and dryer here in Sacramento and our bougs can't take daily water... They don't get daily water in the Yucatan either, and I've seen them big as houses there. I think that you are over watering it and eventually will lose it.

RE: Bougainvillea wilting/dropping leaves

  • Posted by baci z10Ca (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 21, 06 at 9:06

When it cools down, you might check the roots to see if it is pot bound. If it is, it might need repotting in the fall.
These plants do not do as well in pots, & growth is much more vigorous when in the ground. I water mine daily during the summer because it is in a pot. The soil dries within hours, so I am not over watering it. If were not in the ground I would not do so.

RE: Bougainvillea wilting/dropping leaves

I have wilting leaves on a propagated cutting from the mother plant. I am desiring to grow in pots as Bonsai. I have successfully grown Bonsai but this is my first attempt with a Bougainvillea. So far I water the mother plant as it is almost completely on the extreme dry side...I live south of San Antonio and the weather is about 87+...very nice and mild.

Also, when should I repot the mother plant? The cuttings are about 1 week old amd doing fine so is it ok to re-pot the mother plant in a smaller pot by cutting no more than 1/4 of the root mass, filling with good bonsai soil, with small lava rocks on the bottom and screens covering the drainage holes.

They must have drainage holes or the plant will develop root rot. The roots must be able to breath and the pot must be kept off the ground, facing south if possible where it recieves the East to west sun for at least 5 hours per day.

Any advice is welcome and hopefully I canm be of help, as well.

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