Spring Production Of Sunvillea Bougainvilleas

Bougainvillea 'Sunvillea Cream'

Suntory has revolutionized another genus, bougainvillea, reining it in an making it more manageable as a blooming potted plant. Sunvillea bougainvilleas debuted at the Tropical Plant Industry Exposition in 2011 and were a big hit, winning the Best New Flowering Plant Award based on attendee votes. That same year, Sunvillea was a finalist for Greenhouse Grower’s Reader’s Choice Award after receiving the most votes in the “Best of the Rest” category.

Helpful Hints
from T. Jay Higgins
Sun-Fire Nurseries, Sarasota, Florida

Sunvillea is a very compact series of bougainvillea. Plants will grow to a maximum height of two to three feet. Sunvillea comes in Rose (bright fuchsia color), Pink (soft pink) and Cream (really soft yellow, cream explains it well). This is a unique plant for customers as it blooms almost constantly. It can be grown in anything from a 4-inch pot to a 3-gallon. Sunvillea also makes a nice hanging basket. It can also be grown upright as a standard. A 4-inch pot can be finished in as little in 10 weeks in warmer climates. In production, this will be very similar to other bougainvilleas. You do not want to let them dry out all the way, as they will defoliate. But at the same time, they do not like to have “wet feet.” Use a well-draining soil and keep it slightly moist. The plant will be in full flower about six weeks after the last pinch.

Mini But Mighty
Sunvilleas are miniature bougainvilleas that bloom immediately, even in the liner stage. Because Sunvilleas are genetically dwarf, no plant growth regulators are required. Plants are compact and tight with dense foliage and available in three colors:
• Rose – a deep pink that’s almost magenta
• Pink – light salmon-pink
• Cream – yellowish cream bracts with hints of deeper yellow
In contrast to typical bougainvilleas, the controlled growth makes more presentations possible, including small pot sizes.

General Culture
When potting rooted cuttings, do not let plugs dry out to the point of wilt until plants are well rooted in three to four weeks. Use potting media that drains well with good aeration. Sunvilleas prefer full sun, so keep light levels high to moderate, between 5,000 and 8,000 footcandles. Maintain moderately moist soil. Never let pots sit in water. Allocate enough space for each plant to avoid contacting the leaves of another plant.

Crop Timing
For 4-inch production, plant one plug per pot and pinch three weeks after potting. Plants will bloom weeks later.
For 6-inch production, plant one plug per pot and pinch three weeks after potting and then again six weeks after potting. Plants will flower five to six weeks after the last pinch.

Keep temperatures warm – 60-65˚at night and 80-85˚F during the day at any stage to keep constant growth. The higher the temperature, the better the crop will grow. Cooler temperatures will slow growth.

Use a combination of slow-release fertilizer and liquid fertilizer. Use one fourth the rates of slow-release fertilizer, such as Osmocote, Nutricote or Plantacote. For liquid fertilizers, use 25-5-15, 20-10-20 or 21-7-7, if pH of water is 7.0 or higher. Bougainvilleas prefer ph of 5.5 to 6.0. High pH will cause iron deficiency, which can be corrected with drenches of iron sulfate.

Pests & Diseases
Insects to watch for include aphids, caterpillars and mites. Prevent leaf spots by avoiding wet leaves overnight.

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