Many dream about the luxurious flowering of bougainvillea. This plant can be grown both as a purely indoor plant and as a garden-indoor plant. But in any status, bougainvilleas are bought precisely for the sake of their unforgettable flowering, which resembles colored clouds. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to achieve the result “as in the picture”, especially in ordinary living rooms. In order for this indoor liana to bloom profusely and delight with new buds for a long time, you will have to try to create really optimal conditions for it.
Why don’t bougainvilleas bloom?
1. Without coolness, bougainvillea will not bloom
For this beautifully flowering liana, wintering in a cool place at a temperature of about 10 degrees (or from 5 to 16 degrees, depending on possibilities) is the basis of everything. After flowering and stopping growth, the plant needs to organize the correct dormancy period (sometimes from October, but if flowering continues in winter, then after its completion). Even if the temperature can be lowered to only 16 degrees, placing the pots closer to the glass in a warm room is better than stable heat. Bougainvillea for flowering requires not only a temperature regime, but also changes in care. But if the wintering is cool, the chances for this are much higher.
2. Without cropping, there will be no flowers
This luxurious vine blooms on young, strong, healthy and strong side shoots. Without pruning, it almost does not bloom, but you need to act wisely. It is better not to touch the shoots older than 3 years on the plant. To stimulate flowering, the shoots are pinched or cut to a third of the length after flowering or in early spring. Repeat pruning after each flowering wave to induce new vigorous growth and budding.
Of course, such stimulation does not cancel the sanitary pruning of damaged shoots and the formation when creating strict forms along the selected contour or direction on the supports.
Read also our article Indoor bougainvillea – a flowering giantess.
3. Little sun
The main requirement of bougainvillea during the period of active growth is not so much the correct temperature as providing it with the maximum amount of light. Bougainvillea fully demonstrates all its beauty only under the condition of uniformly bright lighting throughout the year, and for flowering it needs two factors:
- at least 5 hours of direct sun;
- daylight hours from 12 hours.
Bougainvillea sometimes suffers even on eastern window sills, it is better to place it on the sunniest window in the house (if possible, partially or completely south orientation). If possible, it’s a good idea to use additional supplementary lighting from mid-autumn to maintain optimal daylight hours. In the brightest possible light, bougainvillea blooms tirelessly, not noticing the change of seasons, delighting with new waves even in winter.
4. Not enough fresh air
This plant prefers to always be in one permanent place, but at the time of budding and flowering, any displacement is extremely dangerous for it. Even with hygienic procedures, it is worth making sure that the position of the crown does not change, otherwise you may not wait for flowering.
But one move of any bougainvillea will be to the taste. In summer, the plant prefers to enjoy air baths on the balcony, terrace, or at least at the constantly ajar window. Bougainvilleas love fresh air so much that even in winter they cannot do without ventilation! The flowering and growth rate of plants, which are brought out under the open sky for the summer, are strikingly different from the bushes languishing in the heat indoors. This rule does not mean, however, that bougainvillea likes drafts (at any stage of development).
5. Insufficient watering
Short or absent bougainvillea blooms are often blamed for too dry air. This plant really won’t bloom normally if an air conditioner or batteries are near, without fresh air. But nevertheless, periodic spraying with warm water on the leaves or installing a tray with wet pebbles is quite enough for him.
But what bougainvillea really does not tolerate is the complete drying out of the substrate. During the period of active growth, even a slight lack of moisture will affect flowering. But if the plant is constantly exposed to sharp fluctuations in soil moisture, then flowering can also be expected. Watering bougainvillea is necessary so that only the top layer of the soil dries out, but without the risk of waterlogging or decay, immediately draining the water from the trays. Even in winter, it is not worth completely overdrying the earthen lump, but the soil moisture must be reduced several times.
6. Lack of dressing
Bougainvillea is not fed in spring and summer, but from the start of growth until October. For lush flowering, top dressing should be not just regular, but rather intense. Bougainvillea will prefer a universal compound mineral fertilizer. With the beginning of budding, plants can be transferred to special fertilizers for flowering plants with a high content of potassium and phosphorus. The plants are fed at least once every 1 weeks, and each time after pruning – with a standard portion of fertilizers.
Read also our article Winter care for tub bougainvillea.
7. Wrong soil and pot
This vine does not like too spacious containers. Pots are selected according to the size of the root system – no more than 4 cm larger in diameter. If there is too much free space, the plant will not bloom.
A prerequisite for flowering and normal development is the choice of a light, loose substrate. Even in the ready-made soil for tubular and flowering plants, you need to add loosening components. Small expanded clay, vermiculite, perlite, sphagnum, coconut fiber will keep the soil breathable, even if the transplant is not carried out annually. Bougainvillea does not bloom in acidic soil.
This plant does not like to be disturbed once again. In order not to disrupt the flowering cycle, it is worth changing the container only when there is a real need for it – when roots appear at the top of the soil and in the drainage holes. The standard transplant frequency is 2-3 years. The plant must not only be carefully handled, but also placed in a humid environment and soft lighting for the period of adaptation.
8. Pests on bougainvillea
Most often, bougainvillea does not bloom due to the care and conditions of detention, but pests can also cause damage, depleting the plant and inevitably disrupting its development. If you suspect a possible infection with bougainvillea, you need to immediately isolate from other plants, increase the humidity and carefully examine the buds, pedicels and the back of the leaves.
On bougainvilleas, red spider mites, mealybugs, aphids and scale insects are especially dangerous. The first signs of pests are easy to recognize by the suspension of growth and the general depressed appearance of the plant, the appearance of honeydew, sticky plaque, discoloration, deformation, shedding of greenery and buds. Fight all the “enemies” in bougainvillea will have to be the same. It is very dangerous to procrastinate with measures and experiment. It is better to remove the affected leaves immediately, wash the entire plant with soapy water, carefully wiping the leaves. It is worth trying to remove visible pests with a sponge or cotton swab dipped in alcohol. But all the same, one cannot do without treatment with systemic insecticides. “Aktellik”, “Aktara”, “Karbofos” are the simplest preparations, the processing of which will have to be repeated at least 3 times. Folk remedies and bougainvillea infusions are usually ineffective.