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23 Jul 2019

What Is The Best Bougainvillea Fertilizer?


The beautiful Bougainvillea plant is a genus of tropical plants, thorny, shrub-like perennial vines of the Nyctaginaceae family.

Beautiful in a hanging basket and some growers have formed them as a bonsai.

The plants are native to South America and are available in more than 300 varieties and a wide range of colors, such as:

  • White
  • Yellow
  • Lavender
  • Orange
  • Purple
  • Red
  • Shades of pink

But, there’s an interesting and a lesser-known fact about bougainvillea plants – what are often considered flowers are modified leaves called bracts.

Since the bracts are immensely showy and encircle the tiny, white-colored real flowers, almost hiding them, they are often mistaken for flowers.

The plants have two distinctive growth cycles; a period of vegetative green growth and a growing season or blooming period.

Bougainvillea blooms are not as heavy in South Florida during the summer months (June – August) because of the long days and excessive rainfall.

Although, somewhere like Texas where it’s mostly hot and dry they grow beautifully.

Bougainvilleas are heavy feeders and need to be fertilized regularly throughout the blooming season to ensure proper production of flowers.

They grow best in warm weather and need to be protected from frost and very cold weather.

The plants are known by different names in different parts of the world.

Some alternative names for bougainvillea are:

  • Buganvilla (Spain)
  • Pokok bunga kertas (Indonesia and Malaysia)
  • Bugambilia (Mexico, Cuba, Guatemala, and the Philippines)
  • Jahanamiya (Arab World)
  • Primavera (Brazil)

Best Bougainvillea Fertilizer

A growing bougainvillea plant needs phosphate and nitrogen plant food to flower, so make sure to use a fertilizer containing these elements to ensure proper blooming.

A small amount of iron (chelated) can help your bougainvillea plants maintain their beautiful and vibrant colors.

Do not use a generalized fertilizer for bougainvillea species.

To ensure abundant flowering plants and good overall health of plants, use a balanced, slow-release fertilizer containing nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (N-P-K) in equal ratios, such as 5-5-5 or 10-10-10, and don’t forget this when repotting.

If repotting make sure you dig up as much as the root ball as possible before moving.

It is critical to use a slow-release fertilizer on this houseplant because the excessive supply of nitrogen inhibits blooming and promotes new growth to be vegetative.

Following specialty plant food fertilizers are known to work best for bougainvillea plants:

  • NutriStar
  • BOUGAIN (6-8-10)
  • Dr. Earth Exotic Blend

Many plant experts and home gardeners also recommend using a hibiscus fertilizer, if a fertilizer specially formulated for bougainvilleas is not available.

Adding about a tablespoon of Epsom salt at the time of fertilization may also be beneficial.


When or How to Fertilize Bougainvillea

Feed your bougainvillea with a fertilizer containing nitrogen and phosphate, once a month, during the bloomer period i.e., from early spring to mid-summer.

For bougainvillea vines growing in the ground, use half a cup of granular fertilizer per 4’ feet of the plant height and lightly scratch it into the soil surface using a trowel or a hand cultivator.

Plant the water thoroughly after fertilizing, if potted make sure there are good drainage holes.

Use a half-strength, liquid plant fertilizer, and water-soluble fertilizer for plants growing in containers.

Dissolve one tablespoon of fertilizer in a gallon of water and water the soil mix.

Make sure to avoid too much water as Bougainvillea bloom and grow best when the soil is kept a little dry and too much watering will lead to root rot.

Bougainvillea care tip: Do not fertilize the species of this perennial flowering vine in fall and winter, if you live in a cool area, and reduce watering to a minimum too.

If you live in the northern states, it’s too cold to grow bougainvillea in the Fall unless they’re housed in warm greenhouses

Only resume feeding when the plant is returned to the outdoor, under full sun or direct sunlight, in the following spring.

Prune any suckers grown at the base of the plant or by pinching them off to encourage more growth at the top.

This is because the plants are not winter-hardy and become semi-dormant in cold weather.

Once the plant becomes established it’s drought-tolerant and they tend to bloom year-round.

USDA hardiness zone 10 – 11.


Fertilizing Young Bougainvillea

Apply a high-nitrogen fertilizer on young plants until they have grown well and become established.

Once they are well-established and have significant vegetative growth, switch to a high-potassium fertilizer to encourage blooming.

Important: Never feed your bougainvillea plants when their root system is dry. If the soil is too dry and it’s time for fertilization, water the plant and then wait for one day before feeding.





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08 Jul 2019

7 Tips For Keeping Your Garden Pond Healthy


A pond in the backyard can make for hours of fun for kids and adults alike. Like all water elements, ponds are relaxing and lovely,reflecting sky and nearby plants. They can also attract frogs and beneficial insects, like dragonflies, that lay their eggs in water. Maintaining a healthy pond isn’t as complex as it may sound.Here are seven simple tips to get you started.

1. Create a happy mess. If you want crystal clear water and manicured plantings, a pond is probably not the way to go. Backyard wildlife ponds should be messy, with an imprecise combination of mud, twigs and leaves to house wildlife. Don’t over-manage if you want to encourage a healthy habitat.

2. Build in shade. Sun is fine and helps aquatic plants with photosynthesis. But don’t put your pond in full sun. It doesn’t matter how many hidey-holes you include for reptiles and animals, plants bear the full brunt of the rays. A mix of shade and sun works best to keep plants growing without excessive organic buildup.

3. Plant politics. Mix your plants and aim for diversity. You’ll want some that float, some that grow up and out of the water,and some that stay submerged. Don’t forget to include plants around the pond edges as well. This provides many habitats for different critters. Look out for and avoid non-native aquatics that can become invasive and block out the others.

4. Deeper isn’t always better. Use the same principal of diversity for the depth of your pond. Mix shallow areas and deep water to give aquatic plants and animals different types of habitat. For small ponds, 12 inches (30 cm.) is deep enough to allow wild things to thrive.

5. No tap water. Don’t fill your pond with tapwater unless you are looking to attract algae, which nobody is. Water from the sink or hose usually contains more nitrates than are good for a pond and turn it dirty green from algae levels. Rain water works best, so wait for it or store it up.

6. Remember runoff. If you use toxins on soil near your pond, they may end up in the pond as water drains. This includes pesticides, fertilizers and any other chemicals. Likewise, sprays drift. Any and all of these can negatively impact your plants and animals.

7. To fish or not to fish. Fish are fun in a pond, and kids love to watch them. But fish don’t always work well with other wildlife like frogs, salamanders and newts. Inviting fish into the space will limit other animals.

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