Indoor Bougainvillea Look Dead

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by ronrobjoe, Dec 19, 2010.

  1. ronrobjoe

    ronrobjoe Member

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    Location:
    Edmonton Canada
    Hello, I live in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

    I've searched every where on your site but find no answer to my questions.

    I bought an indoor Bougainvillea Jamaica, white flowers in the summertime. All the flowers fell off shortly after buying, bringing it home and re-potting it. Then all the leaves fell off but came back in profusion after using a 15-30-15 fertilizer on it, but no flowers even though it got six hours a day of direct sunshine.

    Three weeks ago it was covered in healthy looking leaves. I kept it rather dry, fertilizing it about once a month with a 15-30 15 fertilizer for flowering plants. I had it in a south facing window.

    In the last three weeks it has lost all it leaves; there are a few buds that look like they will start to grow;they are very tiny. When the leaves all looked wilted, dry and were falling off, I drenched, then removed the excess water from the saucer, and it subsequently lost all it leaves. It has been moved a few feet each day to keep it in the sun. Three days ago my cable company came to upgrade out apartment wiring and I had to move it six feet from where it sat. They bumped it often. All the leaves then fell off.

    I have removed it from its former location, placed in my bedroom well away from the window so as not to let it catch drafts from the window I keep open all the time. I now have it very near two 100 watt uncovered coils lights from a lamp sitting about a foot away from it and under almost all most branches. The soil does not retain water and feels very dry again. I cannot keep it moist because all waters drains out immediately.

    I do have regular dirt without wood chips and other fillers and am contemplating.putting a couple of inches of this new dirt on the top to keep some moisture in it/

    It looks like a skeleton now. Should I keep it moist all the time now. Can you offer me any help on how to care for this plant?

    Many thanks,

    Ron Montpetit
     
  2. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Siloam Springs, AR, USA
    Bougainvillea originate in Brazil and other parts of South America and love very fast draining soil and moderately bright to bright light. The roots should not be allowed to dry out but should instead be kept moderately damp, never wet, never completely dry. Look up how to mix a "jungle soil" mix which should include a lot of compost, sand, peat, bark and even granulated charcoal. If you used a normal potting soil it will remain too wet for this type of plant. In South Florida almost everyone grows them in their yard but the soil is always sandy.

    Failure to bloom is generally caused by the plant not having enough sun, too much nitrogen or too much water in a soggy soil. Bougainvillea flowers best in conditions of hot sun with just a bit of dryness between waterings. Fertilize with
    with low nitrogen fertilizers.

    Since it is a tropical species it constantly needs to be warm and should be kept in as bright light as possible. We used to grow 40 or more of these in our yard in Miami and most were along a fence with bright, somewhat direct sunlight in very sandy soil..
     
  3. ronrobjoe

    ronrobjoe Member

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    Thank you very much Photo Pro,

    It seems I have some shopping to for elements of my new soil mixture. That will be on my list of things to do tomorrow. Your advice makes good sense.

    Your help is greatly appreciated.

    Best of everything to you and all yours,

    Ron
     
  4. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    Glad to help. Although we don't talk specifically about Bougainvillea on our website, we do grow several inside the atrium. All are kept hanging up near the ceiling so they can receive bright light. You may want to visit our website and look in the lower right column for the article on Growing Philodendron species. The tropical jungle mix we prepare and use is described in that article, just scroll down to the right section within the article. I am now beginning to create a great deal more of our own compost from the vegetation that dies in the atrium and add that to all our soil mixes just as Mother Nature does in the tropics.naturally

    http://www.exoticrainforest.com/

    Steve
     
  5. ronrobjoe

    ronrobjoe Member

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    Hi Steve,

    Wow!. I just visited your website. If I were able to travel, it would be such a joy to visit your Rainforest. Unfortunately. I can't but I can now visit your site at will and have set it a bookmark in my browser. I must confess that I "covet" what you have created.

    I found the information you pointed to on your website. It, and so much of the other information on your site has added an immense amount of knowledge in how to care for my plants here at home that number 35 plants; about as close as I can get to having my own rain forest.

    Thank you Steve. Best wishes of the season to you and all yours,

    Ron
     
  6. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    My pleasure Ron. I started out much like you are now and just kept adding plants. At the same time I was fortunate enough to meet some of the world's leading aroid botanists and many of them have provided plants from time to time. On top of that, most are very willing to share information which is the goal of my site. I just pass it along.

    Personally, I find UBC to be the same way. People that have gathered a lifetime of knowledge freely share it here. I must admit it troubles me to see the discussion volume drop but hopefully it will pick up in the spring. I have many very good friends as a result of this site.

    You are more than welcome to visit at any time. If that isn't possible and you have a specific question, just drop me a note. Our email address is at the bottom of the homepage on the site.

    Steve
     
  7. ronrobjoe

    ronrobjoe Member

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    Thank you very much Steve.

    I appreciate everything, especially the ability to email you directly.

    Best of the season to you and all yours,

    Ron
     
  8. Osmunda

    Osmunda Member

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    Location:
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    For my understanding most of bougainvilleas drop their leaves in winter months(in colder climates) but if they will sprout again in the spring (so don't throw the plant out yet) . May be you should check for a book about house plants which give you more info to how to takecare of in the winter.
    The House Plant Expert by Dr.D.G.Hessayon may have some info.
    Good luck with your plant.
     
  9. ronrobjoe

    ronrobjoe Member

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    Location:
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    Thank you very much Osmunda,

    I just searched my local public library on line and was able to put a hold on two of his books called The House Plant Expert, books 1 & 2.

    I am looking forward to reading them since I am certain they will be of great help in my care and understanding of my thirty-five houseplants.

    Best wishes to you and all yours,

    Ron
     
  10. tsugajunkie

    tsugajunkie Active Member

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    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
    I have had a boug for 5-6 years now and it can be a challenge in our low light/low humidy winters of the north. I put mine outside in summer and gradually acclimate it to indoor light in the fall. If the light transition is too abrupt, it will drop its leaves. I overwinter mine in a room that stays pretty much in the low 60sF (16.5C) with a west facing window. If you have forced-air heating, keep it away from drafts (actually, both hot and cold drafts) and definately repot it with a free draining media.

    tj
     
  11. ronrobjoe

    ronrobjoe Member

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    Location:
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    Thanks tj,

    I did move it away from drafts and heat registers, put it in a cooler room near an uncovered lamp with two coil incandescent bulbs , left it in the quick draining soil and now it is sprouting new leaves all over the vine.

    Many thanks,

    Ron
     

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