nathansaurus
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Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2011 4:31 pm
Location: florida

new bougainvillea help

i purchased a new bougainvillea tree from lowes about a month ago, however, since that time, the purple flowers have fallen from the tree and i've had no blooms since. the plant is situated on an apartment balcony, but it gets around 5-6 hours of sun a day and i've planted it with miracle gro potting soil that has nutrients to feed the plant for 6 months. also, i purchased bougain fertilizer, so i add that to the pot every month.

still i don't have any blooms.

also, i've noticed bite marks or signs of decay on some of my leaves. are these signs of a parasite?

much thanks for all your imput! :D

[img]https://i793.photobucket.com/albums/yy213/nathansaurus/P1010575.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i793.photobucket.com/albums/yy213/nathansaurus/P1010574.jpg[/img]

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Kisal
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Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 5:04 am
Location: Oregon

Not knowing what part of the world you're located in makes it difficult to determine what animal, if it is an animal, might be causing the leaf damage. There are just too many possibilities. If you could tell us, at a minimum, what country you're in, it would narrow things down considerably.

In a similar vein, it's hard to know the exact cause of the lack of blooms. Just offhand, I would say the plant is overfertilized. When a plant is given a lot of nitrogen, it produces lovely, lush leafy growth, but few or no flowers. The label on the fertilizer container should show what are called the "N-P-K" numbers. The first number represents the percentage of nitrogen, the middle number represents phosphorus, and the final number represents potassium. To promote blooms, the plant needs a fertilizer with a higher phosphorus content. Do not apply such a fertilizer in an attempt to correct the situation, though.

Fertilizers contain minerals, usually in the form of salts. When such salts accumulate in the soil, which can happen quickly in a container because of the limited drainage, the plant's roots can become damaged. This, in fact, could be what is causing the leaf damage. Applying more fertilizer would just compound the damage.

The first thing you need to do is gently remove the plant from it's container and look at the roots. If they are nice and firm and there is no bad smell, you can just return the plant to it's pot. Describe the roots to us and we'll go on to the next step. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

nathansaurus
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Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2011 4:31 pm
Location: florida

hey! :D

thanks for replying. i've just started using bougain fertilizer, so the most i've used it on the plant was two times. however, i'll unearth the plant tomorrow and give a report on how the roots appear to be like. my plant gets mostly the morning sun (around 5 hours or 6 at best), then it's in the shade for the rest of the day. would this cause a difference with my plant?

i also live in florida, in the tampa area, if that helps in any way. :p

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Kisal
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Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 5:04 am
Location: Oregon

Your plants are getting enough sun to satisfy the minimum requirements, so they should do okay. They love heat, so that shouldn't be a problem. Even temps over 100º won't bother them.

Bougainvilleas like the soil to be a bit on the dry side, so I hope you used a quick-draining soil. (I'm not familiar with the Miracle-Gro soils, so I can't say whether that was a good choice or not.) I probably would have used a 50:50 mixture of a good cactus & succulent mix and a good all-purpose potting mix. The roots of the bougainvillea are thin and fragile, and too much water can lead to root rot. OTOH, if the soil is allowed to become too dry, that can damage the roots, too. Watch the leaves and water at the first sign of them beginning to wilt.

It's important that the root ball become thoroughly wet, so if possible, I would water them by immersing the container in a large tub of water. The tub should be deep enough that the water can rise up the outside of the pot to a point above the soil level. Don't let it flow over the rim into the pot, though. Let the plant soak until water pools on top of the soil. Remove it from the tub as soon as no more air bubbles break through the surface of the water. Allow all excess water to drain out of the pot, before you return it to its drainage saucer.

The special fertilizer you bought is high in iron and other micronutrients that bougainvilleas need, so the plants should do fine for you on that. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

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