To be honest, my blog had covered some of the most unusual plants and flowers. We shall continue in this manner, and today I will show you how to grow bougainvillea. This plant has an unusual name and growing it was equally exciting.
There is something special about growing flowers which look like a tree. Probably because those are of different visual appearance, and while you know that you will have a tree in your backyard, the surprise is still present.
Because our flower for today is somewhat enigmatic, here are some things you have to know before you decide whether you want to grow it or not.
As shown, bougainvillea has some rather specific demands. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should give up, but rather that you need to adjust. Luckily, I got you covered on this matter, so this article will be useful both for container and garden growing.
Material And Tools
Have you ever planted a tree? The process is rather straightforward, but still, some guidelines are needed. Tools are more or less those which are used in daily gardening jobs, except several others.
Those as well are present almost everywhere. Let’s list them, shall we?
You will notice that I haven’t listed any trellis or similar which is needed for climbing the plant. This is not required in case you decide to grow bougainvillea in a container. Just in case, if you decide on latter, go with shrub and smaller varieties.
Preparation Of The Soil
There are several factors which must be taken care of in order to grow healthy bougainvillea plants. Luckily, everything is more or less standard procedure, and if you have read at least one of my articles, you get the idea. Still, let’s take one step at a time.
As I said, bougainvillea needs a lot of sunlight. At the same time, it needs support, so pick a location where it can have these two. For example, a wall or a fence is suitable for support, and if sun covers the ground well, you got your location.
If you have to choose from these two, always go for sunlight. You can make a trellis such as this one for growing zucchini, but you can’t add light later. However, always look after the variety you have chosen; some can grow up to 40 feet.
Drainage is another important thing, so avoid the lower ground. The water will retain here, which is a one-way ticket to root rot. If it is possible, side of a hill is great, since these locations have fantastic drainage capabilities. To improve porosity of the soil, add vermiculite or sand.
The last factors are nutrients and acidity. Take your pH measuring kit, and see if the values are as noted. If not, adding limestone will increase pH while sulfur will decrease it. As for nutrients, the soil should be fertile, so if there are other plants around growing happily, you don’t need to intervene, we’ll add some fertilizer before planting.
In case that you are growing bougainvillea in a container, choose potting mix which fits the described, and if you are not satisfied with drainage, add peat moss or coconut coir.
Planting Of The Bougainvillea And Care
Now, with everything prepared, we should plant the bougainvillea. The first step is to dig a hole which is larger than the root ball. Before you plant the plant add that fertilizer, I have mentioned at the bottom. Just a small quantity is needed, so don’t overdo it.
Put the plant in the hole, and while you add dirt around it, see that it stands straight up. If it settles at an angle, you won’t be able to correct this later. Press the soil firmly, and you can even stomp it with your feet. Add water right away, and that should be it.
As the plant grows, it won’t change its demands much. All you need to do is to water it and add fertilizer. Watering is especially tricky, so to check if the soil is dry, stick your finger into it and if lower parts are wet, don’t add liquid. In any case, you won’t damage the plant as much if you skip one watering.
Fertilizer should be added once in a few months, and not more often. In most cases, this too will be too much, so on average once per year will be sufficient. There are fertilizer recipes on my blog already, so help yourself. 1-1-1 or 2-1-2 are most often used fertilizers.
Bougainvillea also needs to be pruned. This is best done in the autumn after the last flowers had passed. Snipping off a few inches or how much you want will make the plant healthier and will boost the growth the next spring.
Those who are growing bougainvillea in colder areas need to carry the container inside once the temperature drops below 50°F. It can endure lower temperatures but don’t risk it.
Pests & Diseases
The best part about this flower is that it won’t suffer from many diseases or pests. Still, there are some which need to be pointed out and prevented if possible.
Majority of diseases such as leaf spots will appear when you water over foliage. Remember, don’t do this! Bougainvillea grows as a thick bush, and those leaves which are overlapping will almost certainly catch some kind of disease. Add water to the ground instead.
As for the pests, spider mites, thrips, and caterpillars might invade the garden, but they are easily solved by applying strong water stream to knock them off. Also, insecticidal soap can do wonders in cases of heavy infestation.
So, here we are. I hope that learning how to grow bougainvillea was interesting to you as it was to me. This flower will undoubtedly bring much to your garden, so there is no reason not to give it a go.
As always, the comment section below is reserved for your comments (of course!), opinions or advice. Feel free to use it.