How to Get Bougainvillea Bloom

Plants & Flowers
Bougainvillea Bloom

Bougainvillea plants are commonly grown in pots and gardens, and they are sought-after in many homes. It is not unusual for people to see a Bougainvillea plant with gorgeous flowers in the nursery and decide to buy it precisely for those beautiful blooms.

However, once you bring the plant home from the nursery, you might notice the flowers wilting and new ones not appearing. Bougainvillea bloom problems typically appear soon after the plant is brought from the nursery. It is very frustrating to know that the gorgeous Bougainvillea with those beautiful flowers does not want to grow in all its beauty in your home.

So how come that a Bougainvillea plant that was blooming so richly in the nursery suddenly becomes so dull in your home? And what to do about it?

Make Bougainvillea Flower Throughout the Year

If the above scenario is your issue, do not worry. This is a common problem that many gardeners experience with their Bougainvillea plants. The good news is that there is something to do about this issue. It is possible to make your Bougainvillea flower throughout the year.

It is helpful to know that most Bougainvillea varieties will bloom without a problem almost all year round if they are grown in the garden or another outdoor space. The most intense flowering period is from the spring through the summer, but if the climate is warm, they can grow even in colder parts of the year. In cooler climates, chances are that your Bougainvillea will flower only during the summer.

To get your Bougainvillea bloom, it is important to provide it with proper care. It need specific growing environment and conditions to thrive. Remember, a plant will only make flowers if it is strong and healthy, because blooming requires so much energy.

The best thing you can do to make your Bougainvillea bloom is to provide those conditions and to make your plant thrive. In other words, you need to give it adequate light, watering and fertilizing, but you should also need to know how to do pruning properly, and how to re-pot your plant when necessary.

Some of the most common reasons on why your Bougainvillea plant might not be flowering are related to lack of light, wrong soil, over-watering, over-feeding with fertilizer, bad re-potting and too much or too little pruning.

Common Issues with Flowering

In order to make your Bougainvillea bloom, you need to understand what the most common problems might be to prevent your plant from flowering. Once you have identified the problem, you need to know how to fix it. Luckily, most issues with Bougainvillea plants not flowering are relatively easy to solve.

Here is how to solve common issues with flowering and make your Bougainvillea bloom:

Provide Adequate Light, Soil and Temperature

Correct type of soil, adequate amounts of light and right temperature are needed to make your Bougainvillea produce flowers. Soil that is ideal for Bougainvillea plants is slightly acidic and free draining. The pH values should be between 5.5 and 6.0. To make your soil more acidic, you can add some Azalea potting mix or limestone. The soil can be made free-draining with some coarse sand added to it.

When it comes to light, keep in mind that Bougainvillea plants can survive in numerous light conditions, including shade. However, growing in shade will produce a lot of leaves, but no flowers. In order to make Bougainvillea bloom, it is important to grow them in direct sun where they can get direct light for at least 8 hours per day.

Also, keep in mind that Bougainvillea plants need to be warm enough. If you live in a colder climate, taking your plants indoors during winter might be the best option. If you keep them outdoors, make sure to protect them from frost.

Make Bougainvillea Bloom with a Watering Trick

When it comes to watering, it is important to remember that Bougainvillea plants are drought-tolerant. This is why you should never over-water your plants. Water only when you notice that the soil feels dry three or four inches deep into the soil or when the leaves are withering.

You should not allow plants to fully wilt, but a bit of wilting can be beneficial for encouragining your Bougainvillea to flower. This is a trick that nurseries often use to have their plants flower so much. They withhold water for some time and then water heavily. This will kick the plant into producing blooms. You can use something similar to make your plant bloom, but do not let it wilt too much before you water.

Encourage Blooming with Fertilizer

You can use specific fertilizer feeding to encourage your Bougainvillea to bloom. If you often apply fertilizer with too much nitrogen, your plant will grow a lot of leaves but no flowers. Instead, use fertilizer high in potash during the spring and summer. Tomato or hibiscus fertilizer is good for encouraging your Bougainvillea to give flowers.

You can also add some Epsom salt to your Bougainvillea plants, or a good dose of bone meal.

Do Not Repot

Keep in mind that your Bougainvillea plant will produce more blooms if the roots are slightly crowded in the pot. A plant that is a bit pot-bound will generally produce much better flowers. Because of this, you should only repot it into a larger container only when the health of the plant is affected. You can leave your Bougainvillea in the same pot for years.

Know How to Prune

It is important to know how to prune your Bougainvillea plant properly. Improper pruning can prevent your plant from flowering. This is true both for pruning too much or too little. If you have an overgrown plant, pruning will encourage it to produce blooms. Make sure to cut about half of the inch of the stem tips in the early spring. Once the blooming is done for the season, cut the plant back by a few inches. This will also encourage blooming.

However, pruning too much is not beneficial. A plant that is cut back too much will not produce flowers, so keep that in mind.

Photo credit: Keith Williamson

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