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QUESTION: I have planted a 5 gallon size red Bougainvillea that I want to train up a post. Hole was adequate size I believe and filled with at least 50% expensive mix from the store. It is actually growing quite well with nice new growth tied to go up the post.  It is in direct Sun however and if I don't water it EVERY morning, by afternoon the new growth becomes completely limp and bends over and the leaves are limp and curl.  Soon after watering, they all come back.  I pruned off several branches growing lower down on the plant.  Why is it so darn fragile and needing constant watering like that?  What can I do.  Thanks.  Glenn (an "expert" in the legal dept.)

ANSWER:  You don't mention where you are located which could be important.

Generally bougainvillea should not need constant watering, however, they do like a loamy-type soil, not sandy. Could your soil be too well-drained?  Another point to remember is that they do adapt well to hot, sunny conditions. So I wouldn't worry too much about limp leaves as they are known to adapt well , just make sure to water well when you do water. Remember they do best in humid tropical climes!

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QUESTION: I'm in Santa Barbara, CA. I think the soil is clay like but again, I mixed it with 50% planting mix from the store.  But the new growth just limps over completely each warm afternoon after soaking it the day before. Bougainvillea grows like crazy all over town so it's not the climate that is the problem. The limping over tells me the problem is a "failure to adapt".  Maybe as the plant matures more it will get stronger.  Thanks for your advice.

I think the soil is the problem. Here is a very good article about soil in your area. I would suggest that if nothing is working after you try some of the tips here that you get in touch with this author as she seems very knowledgeable about your area which I am not. (I'm in the cold north or/and the hot humid south).  


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michaela keenan


i know a lot about vines as i have lived in a a large metropolitan where space was a premium and vines were a great solution. I also to smaller and much colder city with my vines intact.


I have been gardening with vine for over 20 years. I currently have kiwi, clematis, ivy plus many other annual vines. I live in Canada and winter in Mexico.

Horticultural Society

BA including basic biology course. Self educated in botany via a large book collection

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