Monday, December 31

Who's Confused: Me... or Bengal Orange?

This will be the second winter that I brought 'Bengal Orange' bougainvillea into the house. Last year, I put it on a prominent spot on the plant bench... and it quickly dropped all of its leaves and looked like a cluster of dead sticks attached to a trellis. Its "play dead" act lasted until June, when it grudgingly put out new leaves after a couple of weeks outside. In spite of its sunny summer spot, though, it never did bloom.

Since it looked so uninspiring last year, this year it got tucked into a corner where it would be mostly hidden behind a large-leaf hoya on a stand, and a dark leaf rubber tree. It promptly dropped all of its leaves as expected. Imagine my surprise when it decided to throw out (tiny) leaves a month ago... and then started to bloom!

Granted, I'm using the term "bloom" lightly here. With bougainvillea, the brightly colored "flowers" are actually the bracts around the flowers, not the flowers themselves. But they do add a nice touch of color, and were a big surprise since this plant didn't bloom at all this summer.

I'm guessing that the south-facing window next to its current winter home has helped to encourage it to re-leaf and bloom, but I'm a little worried about it now. I don't want to have it go through another leaf drop and really get stressed, to the point where I lose it! It's used to having a cool, dry season in its native home, so I hope that bodes well for me being able to keep it in leaf and happy until spring.

Fingers crossed!