En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
2 ratings

Thursday - May 22, 2008

From: Tooele, UT
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Non-Natives, Transplants
Title: Transplant shock of non-native Bougainvillea
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Well I bought two Bougainvilleas, the first one I transplanted is doing great, the second one not so good when I was taking it out of the original pot the root ball stayed in the pot but the plant with some roots still attached came out. I carefully put the root ball in a new pot with good soil and placed the plant roots on top and covered with soil. It wilted within 30 min,and now the leaves are drying out. can I save the Bougainvillea? If so what should I do to help it get better. More water,food,pruning. HELP!!!

ANSWER:

That sounds like a very serious case of transplant shock. It could have already been damaged when you bought it, if it just basically fell out of the pot. Either your bougainvillea had not grown sufficient roots to support it, or they got broken off at some point. Those little rootlets that are left needed quick water, plus some shade to prevent dehydration. We don't know what condition it's in now, but if you want to try to save it, first, move it into shade. Next, prune off about a third to a half of the upper structure of the plant. Any leaves that are still green, try to leave them on the plant, as it will need nutrition. Water, soak it really good, but make sure the pot is draining well. You don't want them to go from dehydration to drowning. Water again the next day or every other day, and watch for signs of reviving. Do not fertilize. Never fertilize a plant under stress. That can wait until it begins to recover. With less structure to try to keep hydrated, less sun beating down on it, and more moisture available to its roots, it probably has a good chance. If it begins to perk up, perhaps putting on a few new little leaves, you can give it a little more sun every day, but be vigilant about letting the soil dry out too much. You probably won't get any blooms for quite a while.

You probably know that the bougainvillea is not native to North America, but to Brazil. Since the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to plants native to North America, we do not have information on this plant in our Native Plant Database. However, the Texas A&M University AgriLIFE website on Growing Bougainvilleas can give you a lot of information. Since you are in Utah, you might want to give particular attention to the advice on over-wintering this plant.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Problems with non-native artichoke from El Paso, TX
May 25, 2014 - I have a five year old artichoke plant in the ground that gets sun and some shade, has plenty of fertilizer and compost. Gets enough water. It has been beautiful in years past and last year had 10 a...
view the full question and answer

Non-native lambs ears wilting in heat from Fredericksburg TX
October 19, 2011 - 3 days ago I had professional landscaping done in an area with plants that tolerate heat & sun well. We planted 7 healthy, large lambs ear & mulched. Everything planted is doing well except the lambs ...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Chinese Pistache tree with dead branches in Georgetown TX
April 08, 2010 - Have mature Chinese Pistachio tree with many dead branches and few buds forming so far this spring - has been beautiful for many years. Do you know why this is happening and what can be done about it...
view the full question and answer

Identity of a plant at UGA Trial Gardens 15 years ago
August 14, 2012 - Looking to identify a plant that was in UGA trial gardens about 15 years ago, large plant with purple flowers, fuzzy leaves like a lambs ear. Thought it started with a Thiobana or something like that
view the full question and answer

Non-native invasive creeping fig on oak tree
August 15, 2007 - I have a creeping fig in a pot that sits next to an oak tree. It took to the tree as a trellis and looks beautiful. My question is: is it doing the tree any harm?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center