Most of the time, Bougainvillea plants are relatively easy to grow. Other times, though, they can be stubborn, hide their flowers, and refuse to bloom.
Here are a few tips to make sure your Bougainvillea care results in your plant putting on a color display.
Bougainvillea Not Blooming – How to Change That?
Occasionally, bougainvillea plants like to get a bit unruly and refuse to sprout any new blooms, even during the growing season.
Don’t worry; you don’t have to settle for this. You can guarantee more bloom by:
- Ensuring the plant is somewhat root-constricted
- Has access to 6-8 hours of light (high shade or full sun)
- Receives monthly fertilizing over the growing season
How To Encourage Your Bougainvillea Plant to Bloom
Although Bougainvillea is a hardy plant, it can get a bit picky.
Sometimes, you’ll find that your Bougainvillea plant seems to “want” to remain stubborn no matter what you do, not offer any more flowers other than those that are already on display.
Luckily, there are a few essential tips you can follow to encourage abundant blooms:
Focus on the Roots
Bougainvillea plants tend to grow best when their fine roots are somewhat constricted.
As such, you should up-pot your container plants excessively, as they may not get the chance to form the root balls they like.
Keep in mind that plants that have to establish their root systems repeatedly can’t dedicate any energy to bloom.
Leaving it in one suitable container will allow it the time it needs to direct energy and nutrients to new flowers and shoots.
Provide Sufficient Sunlight
As you know, your Bougainvillea needs sun to photosynthesize the energy necessary to bloom.
Without enough sun, your Bougainvillea will only have enough energy to maintain its current size.
Full sun for about 6-8 hours per day is what Bougainvillea needs to produce those perfect pink petals.
Make sure your Bougainvillea is getting bright light throughout the day. About 2,500 FC is ideal. If you can’t pull this off, then high shade is the next best thing.
Use the Right Soil
You’ll also need to pay careful attention to the type of soil you choose to grow your Bougainvillea in, as this medium is crucial to supplying the plant with its micro and macronutrients.
Generally, the best soil mixes for potted Bougainvillea plants include perlite and peat moss mixture. You can also try a soilless combination.
Like most other plants, you’ll need to give your Bougainvillea a bit of a nutritional boost during the growing season to encourage it to bloom.
The most common fertilizers are specially formulated Bougainvillea fertilizer, a general 10-10-10 solution, or a Hibiscus fertilizer applied every 3-4 weeks in a liquid form during the growing season. More on Bougainvillea fertilizers here.
NOTE: If your healthy Bougainvillea is producing lots of green growth and no blooms the nitrogen levels are probably too high.
As long as you provide the ideal growing conditions, it should be a breeze to not only grow your Bougainvillea but guarantee beautiful blooms throughout nearly the whole year!
Still, you might run into some troubles from time to time.
If so, consider employing some of these methods below.
Ways to Get Stubborn Bougainvilleas to Bloom
Despite being granted the best growing conditions, some bougainvilleas refuse to budge. Luckily, you can use two primary methods to ensure you get to see those pretty flowers.
The first method focuses on the root ball and doesn’t require much work. Follow these steps below to guarantee your bougainvillea blooms from the bottom up:
- Remove the plant from its current pot. (It’s best to re-pot your Bougainvillea annually. However, you can do this even if you’re not transplanting it.)
- Carefully trim the outer 1-2″ of the root ball.
- Re-pot your Bougainvillea in the same container or a container of the same size.
This process will reinvigorate the root system and stir its growth once again.
As the root system grows more robust and eventually becomes somewhat constricted in the pot, your Bougainvillea will bloom healthily.
Related: Are Bougainvillea Plants Poisonous?
For a top-down approach to encouraging blooming, you’ll need to focus on the foliage instead.
Expert growers in nurseries use a rather radical approach by withholding water to “trick” the Bougainvillea into thinking that it’s dying.
When they finally water it (quite heavily), the plant responds in a last-ditch effort to survive.
This method leads to many flowers since it’s trying to distribute dozens of seeds to produce more bougainvilleas.
If you want to take a top-down approach, you must be very careful with this method.
There are many ways your Bougainvillea can die in this practice, the main two, of course, being under and overwatering.