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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.

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Tuesday - April 22, 2014

From: Mesa, AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Help for a Transplanted Bougainvillea
Answered by: Anne Van Nest


I recently planted a bougainvillea in our south-facing front yard. While planting it, we inadvertently severed a large portion of the root system from the plant. What, if anything, can we do to help the plant recover?


Bougainvillea, although not a native plant, is a tough, drought-tolerant vine that grows well in the warmer and sunnier parts of the United States (hardiness zones 9 & 10). It has an interesting flower which is actually very small and white. The colorful paper "flowers" are really bracts and are showy for quite a long time. Bougainvillea can usually be found in pink, magenta, purple, red, orange, white or yellow. For more details about the bougainvillea plant take a look at its wikipedia entry.

To help your newly transplanted bougainvillea survive its initial establishment period, a little extra protection would be helpful. Some suggestions are to build a temporary shelter to give it some protection from the sun, provide extra water (moist not wet though), apply an anti-desiccant spray to the leaves, and prune back 25-30% of the top growth.

Barbara Medford answered a previous Mr. Smarty Plants question on handling transplant shock with a bougainvillea. Take a look at the question and her answer. She also included a good link to the Texas Plantanswers site about Growing Bougainvilleas.


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