Advice/moral support on a bougainvillea

I bought this bougainvillea in December in Florida and since coming back to Virginia have learned a hard but valuable lesson. You shouldn’t take trees out of their native ranges unless you have the means and knowledge to care for it.

Since getting back I have been waiting for the outside temperatures to consistently be in the 45+ F range. I have been trying to strike the balance of water and oxygen and had it in the brightest window I have. I am unsure if I have been over or under watering (probably both). Some leaves have shriveled and dried up while others remained soft and turned black. It sent out several new shoots but some of those have also started to die back. Recently the temperatures reached the range I was comfortable putting it outside to get morning sun and afternoon shade as it got used to being back outside. Last night there was a lot of wind and it snapped the last remaining branch off of the taller trunk. I brought it inside to prevent further wind damage.

Needless to say I am now very crestfallen. Does anyone have advice or a moral raising experience to share.

Picture of tree after purchase

Sad state now

1 Like

I have a couple of small bougainvilleas and I find that they go into a real slump when I bring them inside in the fall (typically mid Oct. here in the Spokane, WA area). They always seem to perk up around the New Year which I always attributed to the daylight getting longer. However, it may just be 2+ months of dormancy. I’ll move them back out in mid to late may after all chance of frost is over and the nights are in the 40s. They generally grow like weeds at point and even grow fairly well after coming out of the slump in the winter. I hope this helps you.

The first time I brought my bougainvillea in for the winter, all the leaves turned yellow and fell off in the first week. It grew new leaves a few weeks later. When I put it outside the next spring, all the leaves got sunburned and fell off. During the summer it puts on a lot of new growth and looks great until I bring it in for the winter. I have been going through this for 23 years.

Thanks for the wisdom! I won’t give up hope just yet then. I really hope it gives me a new branch in the taller trunk.

Is it green, happy and flowering now?
As long as the roots are functional, it should compensate for your worries with at least new bright foliage by now.
The stability of roots in the pot and drawning are the main concerns in my experience, and your tree should have enough energy stored to recover again and showing the primadonna style soon. Mine tolerate benign neglect and prefer dryish feet.

It has started pushing a lot. No flowers quite yet. It is a little sad but it is not pushing from the upper half of the taller trunk so I think it gave up on that. Oh well. I will have time to rethink the design over the next year or so as I let it recover and see what branches it gives me.