Q:

How do you care for a bougainvillea plant?

A:

Quick Answer

Care for a bougainvillea plant by placing it in a sunny location with slightly acidic soil, keeping it well-watered, fertilizing it regularly and pruning it yearly. A bougainvillea needs to be planted into a mobile container in areas with harsh winters so that it can be moved inside during cold periods.

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Full Answer

Choose a location for your bougainvillea plant that receives plenty of direct sunlight, especially if you want it to flower. Shade is not conducive to blooming. Test the soil to make sure it has a pH between 5.5 and 6.0. If the pH is too low, amend the soil with limestone or lower the pH with sulfur. Plant the bougainvillea, and water and fertilize it immediately. Make sure that the soil is always moist. Soil that dries out completely stresses the plant, while soil that is too wet can cause other problems, such as root rot.

Feed the plant regularly with a slow-release fertilizer that has both iron and nitrogen. The fertilizer needs to be balanced because high amounts of nitrogen, while encouraging bushy growth, result in fewer blossoms. Prune the plant only after it flowers, by removing the faded blooms halfway down the stem. Do not prune the plant once it starts to produce new growth.

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