If your vine is in a pot, consider moving it to a better, more sunlit location to improve its blooming capabilities. By creating an account you agree to the Hunker, Clemson Cooperative Extension: Bougainvillea. The healthiest bougainvilleas, and those that flower best, get adequate water during the growing season. Container bougainvilleas that grow indoors all or part of the time have shorter blooming periods than those grown outdoors where it's brighter. Bougainvilleas need a resting or dormant period to be at their best during the summer growing season. 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. It only blooms on new wood. Reduce to one-half the amount during noncolor seasons and particularly during cooler weather. Bougainvillea is a heavy feeder but requires a certain fertilizer to grow properly. 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. Part of the joy of bougainvilleas (Bougainvillea group or Bougainvillea spp.) Keep in mind, though, that container plants are more susceptible to winter conditions than in-ground plants. Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story. 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. If your plant isn't blooming even in summer, you may need to dig it up and move it to a sunnier spot in your garden. Watering the Plants. 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. Place an indoor plant in a south-facing window, and if possible, move the plant to a bright location outside for the summer. Drench container plants till water flows from the bottom drainage holes. If your bougainvillea doesn't get direct sunlight -- and enough of it -- it simply won't produce the colorful bracts you want to see. 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. Susan Lundman began writing about her love of gardening and landscape design after working for 20 years at a nonprofit agency. This will also help protect it during winter. 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. of the soil feel dry to the touch. She has written about plants, garden design and gardening tips online professionally for ten years on numerous websites. If your vine is in a pot, consider moving it to a better, more sunlit location to improve its blooming capabilities. © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. In zone 8, plants that die to the ground due to frost usually return in spring to bloom again if they're heavily mulched and watered only sparingly. How to Make Bougainvillea Bloom. Cut off vigorous shoots as they will stunt the growth of other parts of the plant, and pinch. More than that and you’ll encourage root rot and discourage blooms. Bougainvilleas thrive and blossom most where they can grow outdoors year-round in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11, but you can also grow them as houseplants or as annuals in cooler climates. Bougainvilleas need a resting or dormant period to be at their best during the summer growing season. If your bougainvillea doesn't get direct sunlight -- and enough of it -- it simply won't produce the colorful bracts you want to see. How to Make Bougainvillea Bloom Location and Frost Protection. Lundman belongs to numerous gardening groups, tends her home garden on 2/3 acre and volunteers with professional horticulturists at a 180 acre public garden where she lives on Bainbridge Island in Washington State. 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. 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. Many bougainvillea cultivars are notorious for their sharp thorns. Light the Way. Deeply soak garden-planted bougainvilleas so that the soil is moist but not oversaturated. To get the most blooms from a bougainvillea, the plant needs full sun or at least 6 hours... Dormant Period. Most spring-blooming plants require pruning right after they bloom because they bloom on old wood; most summer-blooming plants require pruning in late winter or early spring because they bloom on new wood. 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. 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. University of Florida IFAS Extension: Bougainvillea, University of Florida Nassau County Extension Horticulture: Shrubs, UC Master Gardeners of Napa County: Bougainvillea. These thorny, colorful vines grow best in full sun. is their colorful flowers, which are actually modified leaves, called bracts, that encircle their small, white true flowers. The soil in the planting area or pot should be rather dry; allow the soil surface to dry out between waterings. This is unlike many plants that prefer moist soil and a regular watering schedule. 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. University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service: Bougainvillea Spp. To get the most blooms from a bougainvillea, the plant needs full sun or at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. The genus Bougainvillea contains several species, although only three are horticulturally important: Bougainvillea spectabilis, Bougainvillea glabra and Bougainvillea peruviana. The blooming cycles last four to six weeks; prune and pinch after the blooming cycle. These thorny, colorful vines grow best in full sun. 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. Wait until after the last frost in spring to prune off frost-damaged stems. But because the plant doesn't like to sit in constantly wet soil, let the soil dry out between watering sessions. 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. Bougainvilleas generally respond well to pruning too. Oftentimes, too much water is to blame when bougainvillea fails to perform as desired. Kelly's background also includes childcare, and animal rescue and care. Bring plants indoors over the winter if there is a chance of frost. Several hybrid species and cultivars also exist. If subfreezing temps and frost are forecast, move your potted bougainvillea to a sheltered location, such as a garage. Sterilize your pruning tool by wiping the blades with a paper towel dampened with rubbing alcohol before and after using them to reduce the chances of spreading diseases from one plant to another. When Do I Bring My Bougainvillea Plant Inside? Like cactus, your bougainvillea is actually native to very arid conditions so water it only when the top two inches (5 cm.) If you suspect that your plant isn't performing as it should, consider changing some part of its growing environment. Situate garden-planted bougainvilleas in a warm, protected location, such as against a south- or west-facing wall. Bougainvillea produces flowers throughout the year and, where it is perennial, produces spectacular color in late fall or very early spring when nights and days are approximately equal in length. The native, arid climate of bougainvillea makes it difficult to grow in the United States, although some gardeners have success. That dormancy naturally happens in the winter, when temperatures drop and nights are longer. Cut off suckers at the base of the plant to encourage more growth at the top. Check the soil before watering; if it still feels … Fertilize bougainvilleas during the growing season for the best blooms. Don't worry if your bougainvillea isn't blooming when your neighbor's is; these plants flower throughout the year in the United States. 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. 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. Ideally, prop the protective covering up using stakes or a frame so it doesn't touch the plant and remove the covering during the day. If you bring your potted bougainvillea indoors for the winter, consider placing it in a cool, dark spot in your house, such as an unheated room where lights aren't turned on at night. 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. Known for their colorful blooms, the bougainvillea's true flowers are small, whitish and insignificant. Apply a bougainvillea-specific fertilizer -- these typically have iron and other minor nutrients bougainvilleas crave -- at a rate of approximately 1 tablespoon per foot-height of your in-ground bougainvillea regularly throughout the color season. 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. Multiple factors -- most of which are the result of human mistakes -- can cause bougainvillea to not produce its colorful bracts. If it's in the ground, try transplanting it to a sunnier location; if it's mature, however, transplanting can cause more harm than good. Bougainvilleas in containers sometimes don't flower as much as they should because their roots have too much space. 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. That's because these hardy vines don't require much water, food or other care.