Q: I've had a Bougainvillea for 2 years as a houseplant. It's tall, has lots of leaves, but does not flower. It looks sickly, how can I better care for it?
Hardiness Zone: 6b
Christy from Colorado
It can be challenging to get Bougainvillea to flower under ordinary indoor conditions, so if possible move them to a sunny location outdoors for the summer. Like other flowering houseplants, Bougainvilleas need more light than non-flowering houseplants. Daylight triggers blooming. They will usually bloom when the number of available daylight hours equals the number of hours of darkness. During this time they need a minimum of 5 hours of direct sunlight each day. In the spring and summer, keep soil moist and temperatures warm-the warmer the better. Fertilize them during the active growing period with a balanced 20-20-20 fertilizer (like Miracle Grow) applied at 1/2 strength-don't over do it. As temperatures drop in the fall, cease feeding, back off on the watering and move them to a cooler room (50º-60ºF). Gradually increase the temperature and watering again once spring arrives. If your indoor air is dry, mist the leaves regularly to increase the humidity around the plant.
It may be an area specific thing, but... My experience is the same as Linda's. I'm in San Diego (USDA Zone 10+, Sunset Zone 23)-- leave them alone except for pruning, and they do fine... drought conditions suit them. However, they must do OK with plenty of rain, too-- they have them growing along the roadsides in HI.
One of my bougainvillea plants in the hanging basket has severely wilted due to lack of water and high temps of 100 here while I was sick and didn't water it. It's full of blooms, but completely wilted. I watered it thoroughly and it's not resurrected yet. I have placed it in shade near tree for today. The other plant beside it is fine. Any ideas on how to help this one?
Try soaking the entire container in water. My husband taught me this after working for a nursery. Put the entire container in water until the bubbles stop. That will rehydrate the soil.