how to make bougainvillea bloom
Cut off vigorous shoots as they will stunt the growth of other parts of the plant, and pinch. These colorful plants hail from an arid region of the world and, as such, thrive in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11. Bougainvilleas in containers sometimes don't flower as much as they should because their roots have too much space. Although you can prune bougainvillea throughout the year, pruning in summer may cut off the forming buds, reducing the amount of color you see the next blooming cycle. How to Make Bougainvillea Bloom. These thorny, colorful vines grow best in full sun. If your bougainvillea doesn't get direct sunlight -- and enough of it -- it simply won't produce the colorful bracts you want to see. That dormancy naturally happens in the winter, when temperatures drop and nights are longer. With a professional background in gardening, landscapes, pests and natural ecosystems, Jasey Kelly has been sharing her knowledge through writing since 2009 and has served as an expert writer in these fields. Bougainvilleas generally respond well to pruning too. Whether you grow your plant as a vine or a shrub, it's more likely to bloom profusely from early spring through summer if given the right care and conditions. Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story. If your vine is in a pot, consider moving it to a better, more sunlit location to improve its blooming capabilities. University of Florida IFAS Extension: Bougainvillea, University of Florida Nassau County Extension Horticulture: Shrubs, UC Master Gardeners of Napa County: Bougainvillea. Watering the Plants. Wear long sleeves and heavy gardening gloves when pruning bougainvilleas or moving the plants from one spot to another and avoid placing them near walkways or places where children and pets play. Multiple factors -- most of which are the result of human mistakes -- can cause bougainvillea to not produce its colorful bracts. Bougainvilleas need a resting or dormant period to be at their best during the summer growing season. Give in-ground plants a slow-release, balanced granular fertilizer and container plants a half-strength liquid fertilizer once a month throughout the growing season, beginning in early spring and continuing through the middle of the summer. The native, arid climate of bougainvillea makes it difficult to grow in the United States, although some gardeners have success. If you can't move it, cover it with an old sheet or blanket during the night, as you would if it were planted in the ground. Kelly's background also includes childcare, and animal rescue and care. Cut off suckers at the base of the plant to encourage more growth at the top. The genus Bougainvillea contains several species, although only three are horticulturally important: Bougainvillea spectabilis, Bougainvillea glabra and Bougainvillea peruviana. © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. She has written about plants, garden design and gardening tips online professionally for ten years on numerous websites. If you grow your bougainvillea outside in a container, place it in a sunny spot, such as a south-facing wall, for the longest blooming period. Bring plants indoors over the winter if there is a chance of frost. If you suspect that your plant isn't performing as it should, consider changing some part of its growing environment. If your bougainvillea doesn't get direct sunlight -- and enough of it -- it simply won't produce the colorful bracts you want to see. Part of the joy of bougainvilleas (Bougainvillea group or Bougainvillea spp.) of the soil feel dry to the touch. If you need to severely prune the plant to reduce its size, wait until after it finishes blooming in late fall or prune in spring after the last frost but before new buds form. This will also help protect it during winter. The healthiest bougainvilleas, and those that flower best, get adequate water during the growing season. To get the most blooms from a bougainvillea, the plant needs full sun or at least 6 hours... Dormant Period. Clemson Cooperative Extension: Bougainvillea, Missouri Botanical Garden: Bougainvillea (Group), NC Cooperative Extension: Protecting Landscape and Garden Plants During Cold Snaps, The Lowest Temperature for the Tropical Plant Bougainvillea. But because the plant doesn't like to sit in constantly wet soil, let the soil dry out between watering sessions. By creating an account you agree to the Hunker, Clemson Cooperative Extension: Bougainvillea. If you have a saucer under the container to catch excess water, let the pot drain for 20 or 30 minutes; then empty the saucer. Keep in mind, though, that container plants are more susceptible to winter conditions than in-ground plants. Check soil moisture at least once a week using your finger and apply water when the soil is dry to a depth of about an inch. If frost or subfreezing temperatures threaten, cover the plants with tarps or old sheets or blankets to help ensure that they won't be damaged or killed. Many bougainvillea cultivars are notorious for their sharp thorns. That's because these hardy vines don't require much water, food or other care. Situate garden-planted bougainvilleas in a warm, protected location, such as against a south- or west-facing wall. Like cactus, your bougainvillea is actually native to very arid conditions so water it only when the top two inches (5 cm.) Carefully read and follow the product label for application procedures and amounts. Even in the ideal location, though, bougainvilleas need occasional protection from cold weather and frost in USDA zones 8 and 9. The boldly colored "blooms" people see aren't flowers but modified leaves, much like those of a poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima), which also grows in USDA zones 9 through 11. Known for their colorful blooms, the bougainvillea's true flowers are small, whitish and insignificant. This is unlike many plants that prefer moist soil and a regular watering schedule. The soil in the planting area or pot should be rather dry; allow the soil surface to dry out between waterings. The plants produce more flowers when the roots are slightly crowded in the pot, so consider repotting if your plant is on the small side and your pot is very large. Container bougainvilleas that grow indoors all or part of the time have shorter blooming periods than those grown outdoors where it's brighter. When Do I Bring My Bougainvillea Plant Inside? At any time during the growing season, pinch off about 1/2 inch of the stem tips to encourage more branching and ultimately, more flowers. Because much of the problem with bougainvillea blooming is at the fault of the gardener, the University of Florida IFAS Extension encourages bougainvillea owners to error on the side neglecting the plant rather than fussing over it. Susan Lundman began writing about her love of gardening and landscape design after working for 20 years at a nonprofit agency.