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Potted Bougainvillea low on folliage and flowers

pop.gloriapop.gloria Posts: 1
edited September 2018 in Problem solving
Hello dear gardeners,

I have started caring for a friend's potted Bougainvilleas in Borneo (Malaysia) - tropical climate.
They had a lot of weeds in the pots and weren't trimmed in a while. I have removed the weeds and pruned the plants quite aggressively to give a form. I know, it's not the best moment now as it is blooming season but I will be around only 2 weeks!
The problem is the plants have very few leaves and flowers, they look barren :( 
Do you know what is the reason of this? Not enough fertilizer?

I have added some photos taken AFTER pruning (a lot of lower branches removed, and other branches to promote growth).

Thank you so much!


  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,645
    I suspect they're just starving and thirsty.  That compost looks very dry so I would suggest thorough watering then a liquid feed for instant tonic and a mulch of well-rotted compost or manure to help retain moisture and release nutrients more slowly as they are watered in future.  

    Is there any special reason they can't be planted in the ground where their roots can spread out and look for moisture and nutrients instead of relying on someone to do it for them? 
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • DimWitDimWit Posts: 553
    The place looks sunny, so you can replace the soil, and be really severe on the pruning. Those old branches won't produce much: cut a few inches above the crown (after removing a lot of soil and adding a lot of manure), and to avoid transpiration, cover the soil in the pot with some mulch like bark or pebbles (though the last are a bore when it comes to renewing the compost!). BTW, a larger pot would do miracles...
  • Guernsey Donkey2Guernsey Donkey2 Posts: 6,713
    edited September 2018
    I was really interested to see your pictures pop.gloria - I have never seen (or been aware of) an outdoor growing bourgainvillea before - as they are far too tender to grow outdoors where we live.  I am attaching a picture of the type we grow here - in an unheated greenhouse, it isn't in a pot - we have planted it directly into soil/peat and the plant is approx. 3 years old and 2 metres tall x 1 metre wide.  We water it twice a week and feed once a month.
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