It took almost an entire year, but the very first bougainvillea we got is finally blooming. I had almost given up on it. After the first week we got it, it stopped flowering. Just leaves and more leaves. So after months of waiting I finally did some research on what went wrong. I implemented a few simple steps,
1. Moved it to a different balcony. It was initially in a place where it received good sunlight in the afternoons through evening. I thought it would suffice, but apparently not. So i shifted it to our bedroom balcony which is super duper hot and sunny through the day. I was initially concerned that this amount of heat might burn the leaves, as it did to some other plants, but it seems bougainvilleas love it!
2. Prune-trim-prune-trim, make it look totally anorexic. Mercilessly chop down leaves, some branches, down to the bare minimum. I was nervous doing this initially, but I read that you need to cut about 75-90% of the leaves and branches, and wait. I waited for a good two months after this, and then all of a sudden, it almost seemed as if the plant fought back in the form of colorful blooms!
3. Organic manure. I underestimated the importance of regular nourishment. Now I add the manure granules at least once in 4-5 days. I can visibly see the difference in growth rate.
4. Minimal watering once a day. I may have over-watered it hoping it would flower, but what I needed to do was just the opposite. It’s not surprising now, when I see such huge flowering bougainvillea shrubs on the roads, growing so well with no one watering them.
So far, so good, but the real test now is to watch how well it’s going to flower and flourish.