Bougainvillea are an immensely showy, floriferous and hardy plant. Virtually pest-free and disease resistant, it rewards its owner with an abundance of color and vitality when it is well looked after.

Care & Maintenance: Helen Johnson Dwarf Problems

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With support from Bougainvillea Expert: Kellie P.






Question/Concern
Several weeks ago I purchased 15 BGI Helen Johnson Dwarfs for planting in South Florida. At the time of purchase the leaves were intensly green with heavy blossoms. I have planted them in a row, hoping for a colorful and manageable hedge. They receive direct sun for 60-70% of the day. I have watered them every other day, trying not to either under or over water. For the most part the blossoms have all dropped. In several cases the leaves have also dropped exposing bare stems. In two plants the leaves are turning yellow and dropping. What I am doing wrong?

Answer/Solution
It sounds like you're over-watering them. Reduce the watering to only "as needed". If you live in South Florida, you'll remember that we had heavy, frequent rains for the past week. During those rainy spells, there's no need to water your bougainvillea. Check out our watering section of our website for details. In addition to the rains, the cooler weather is also playing a part in the thinning of bougainvillea plants. With night time temperatures in the low 40's and 50's...it's bound to have an effect on new plantings - especially smaller plantings like your 2 gallons. It looks like better weather is ahead so your bougainvillea should come back soon. Fertilize with Bougain, water only as needed, and if we get some better, dry weather, you should start to see new buds in 2-3 weeks.