The bougainvillea plant is quite a popular ornamental plant. With its clusters of flowers ranging from pastel pinks or purples to bright pinks, it’s a true head-turner.
The fact that it can creep and grow on gates and walls also make quite a statement with passers-by. But while they’re easy to grow, bougainvillea may also take a while to bloom. And in this article, you’ll learn how to make sure your bougainvilleas bloom.
Why is my bougainvillea not blooming? The following are the reasons why bougainvillea plants do not bloom:
- It has been overwatered.
- It has been overfed with fertilizer.
- It has been over-pruned.
- It is experiencing temporary stress from repotting.
- It has been planted in the wrong soil.
Each of these reasons will be discussed in detail in this article. Aside from these reasons, you will also learn the ideal time when bougainvilleas bloom, as well as some tips and tricks to ensure that they bloom. Continue reading to know all the information you need to make your bougainvilleas bloom.
What Is Bougainvillea?
Bougainvillea is a thorny ornamental plant that’s known for its iconic blossoms. Its flowers range from pastel-colored pinks and purples to bright pink and magenta. Some flowers also appear orange, yellow, and white, although these are not as common.
Bougainvillea is best known as a bushy vine that can creep up to 40 feet tall. It is native to South America, which makes it naturally thrive where it’s warm and humid.
When Do Bougainvillea Bloom?
Bougainvilleas are tropical plants. As such, their flowers often start blooming by the end of spring or early summer. This means that it starts developing buds by late fall or early winter.
With that in mind, the entire blooming cycle of a bougainvillea lasts between November to May, after which it loses its flowers and prepares for dormancy.
How Long Do Bougainvillea Bloom?
Once the bougainvillea plant has made its flowers bloom, these flowers stay on the plant for a month or two before they begin to fall. However, the length of the blooming period, from the time the buds develop until the flowers start falling, usually lasts for five to six months.
How Often Does a Bougainvillea Bloom?
Generally, bougainvilleas bloom once or twice a year, especially in areas that are not tropical. With that said, they also bloom all year round in areas where it is continuously hot and humid.
Why Is My Bougainvillea Not Blooming?
There are several reasons why your bougainvillea is not blooming. As tough as they seem, bougainvilleas are quite sensitive – and the slightest mistake in taking care of them can leave them without flowers. And since this plant is known for its vibrant flower, it loses its appeal if it doesn’t bloom.
The usual culprit is that it is planted in a place where it’s not getting enough heat and sunlight. As a tropical plant, bougainvilleas love warm and bright light. Without it, it won’t grow and flourish to its full potential.
Other common culprits that cause your bougainvillea’s failure to bloom include overwatering, overfeeding it with fertilizer, pruning it too much, repotting stress, and planting it on the wrong soil.
It comes as no surprise that bougainvilleas prefer the dryness in their soil. It is a tropical plant, after all.
When you give your bougainvillea too much water, it becomes stressed since it’s not used to being given a lot of water. And when your bougainvillea is stressed, it won’t be able to produce flowers at all.
Also, giving it too much water tends to soak up the roots for too long. This leads to root rot, which may even lead to the death of your bougainvillea.
While feeding your bougainvillea with fertilizer is a good idea, too much of it can be bad for it. If you give your bougainvillea too much fertilizer, all the extra nutrients go into developing its vines and foliage – not its blooms.
You must also bear in mind that like most plants, bougainvilleas that are given too much fertilizer might develop damaged roots. This is especially true if the fertilizer used is too strong for the roots to handle, which results in the burning of its roots.
There’s no denying that bougainvilleas are high-maintenance plants. They require pruning around once or twice a year, depending on their condition. Aside from keeping it from becoming an unkempt vine, pruning also encourages the buds to bloom.
However, if it has been pruned too frequently, it may serve the opposite result. It may even cause the bougainvillea to stop producing flowers for the season.
Bougainvilleas do not need frequent repotting. They usually thrive when they are planted in a compact pot, so they only need to be transferred once between two to four years. And most of the time, the pot transfer may even be because the old pot was already destroyed.
Since bougainvilleas are not used to frequent repotting, they will feel stressed if that happens. They might also take a while to adjust to the new pot, and that may extend its dormancy stage and halt the production of blooms.
Since bougainvillea hates getting their roots wet, the ideal soil used to grow them is well-draining. If you plant your bougainvillea on moist and compact soil, its roots will become soaked and eventually rot. And in some instances, your bougainvillea might not even grow at all.
How to Make Bougainvillea Bloom?
Bougainvillea is known to love drought, so one of the ways to ensure that they bloom is to use well-draining soil. Also, slightly acidic soil helps bougainvillea roots to absorb nutrients better. Specifically, the soil’s pH level should be around 5.5 to 6.0.
To ensure that you get the right level of soil acidity, you can use a soil pH meter like the iPower Soil pH Meter. This will ensure the proper growth of your bougainvillea.
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Light and Temperature
As earlier discussed, bougainvillea is tropical plants. As such, they grow best where it’s bright and hot.
With that in mind, they should be planted where they get access to bright and direct sunlight for at least six hours per day. This allows them to bask in the sunlight to ensure photosynthesis and help their flowers bloom.
Aside from direct sunlight exposure, they also need warmth. They prefer temperatures of 80 degrees Fahrenheit or higher to thrive. They can also tolerate cooler temperatures, but make sure that it doesn’t drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
While bougainvillea likes it dry, they still need water to stay hydrated. They will bloom if you lightly shower them with water daily.
Alternatively, you can give them a deep watering once every three weeks. You’ll know when they’ve had enough water when it starts dripping out of the pot.
Earlier, it has been discussed that giving your bougainvillea too much fertilizer can cause the overgrowth of its foliage – instead of encouraging blooms. The key here is to determine what kind of fertilizer works best for your bougainvillea.
A well-balanced fertilizer like the J R Peters 52008 Jacks Classic 20-20-20 All Purpose Fertilizer will work best for bougainvilleas. You may also dilute it to give you a fertilizer at half strength if you don’t want to give too much fertilizer to your plants.
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Bougainvilleas rarely need any repotting. They prefer to stay in the same pot where their roots feel compressed.
With that in mind, they only need repotting once every three to four years. This is something you have to remember since repotting bougainvilleas too frequently can make it feel stressed. And when it’s stressed, it may not bloom at all.
Pruning helps nudge your bougainvillea to go into another blooming cycle, so you must know the right way to do so.
Once the blooming cycle ends, carefully prune away severely damaged, diseased, or dead stems or branches. This will ensure that the bougainvillea focuses its energy on its healthy parts, allowing it to recover faster from the last blooming cycle.
Then, during its growing period, lightly nip the tips of the branches to encourage it to start producing buds. But, in nipping, only make sure to cut off only a little beyond the last node. Cutting off too much from the branch may result in a delay in the development of the buds.
Alternatively, you may opt to simply pinch the tips of the branches to nudge the start of the blooming cycle. This will ensure that you won’t remove too much from your branch.
Another tip to keep in mind is that you have to use a sturdy pair of garden shears to make sure you cut swiftly without producing any damage to the plant. The Fiskars Bypass Pruning Shears offer a firm grip for a swift and accurate cut. Also, make sure that your garden shears are sterilized to prevent them from contaminating your bougainvillea.
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List of Sources
Bougainvillea – https://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/bougainvillea-2/
Growing Bougainvilleas – https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/plantanswers/publications/bougainvillea
Bougainvillea – https://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/plants/ornamentals/bougainvillea
Bougainvillea – https://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/oc/freepubs/pdf/of-38.pdf