Bougainvillea Pruning?

phoebe100(9)June 15, 2008

Hi all, I don't know why I'm having trouble with this. The bougainvillea is a just a large MASS right now & I can't decide how to prune it. I love it & want to keep it, but it does need some taming. How do you prune yours, like a large bush basically shortening all the branches to a rounded shape? Or do you leave the long upper branches like a weeping tree effect? I could probably walk under it, if I did this & pruned the lowest branches off. I don't know why I'm so undecided with this. I'm just looking for some ideas, I can't even visualize this pruned up!

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puglvr1(9b central FL)

I kind of like mine in a bonsai style . But that's me. The one I have in the ground I have a tendency to prune pretty hard. This year I cut off over 2 ft long stalks and rounded it off like a small tree. It can take hard pruning and whatever shape you like. I also have one in a clay bowl, kind of in a bonsai shape too. Good luck with yours. Maybe post a picture...

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 9:15PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

About the only way I can think of to prune a Bougie wrong is to not wear gloves lol. I had a 10 foot one growing on a shadehouse that wilma removed .It is still sprouting on a steady diet of roundup lol.
I loved the look of it but shed so much blood with every pruning. I now confine all my bougies to hanging baskets or Bonsai. Standards are fantastic also but require a lot of work to contain.
I don;t think it's possible to prune them wrong??? gary

    Bookmark   June 16, 2008 at 6:13AM
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You can prune a Boug into just about any shape you want without fear of killing it or cutting too much back. The caveat to my last comment is that you can trim too much if it unblocks a bathroom window or eliminates shade for some plant behind or under it.

The rule of thumb for any pruning attempt is "cut and look". Lop off a piece, take a step back, and see how the plant has changed. Then go on with the next major cut and repeat the process.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2008 at 7:10AM
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I had great success with pruning mine in the willow-tree style, AFTER it had a trunk strong enough to hold it up - otherwise it is top heavy. If yours is strong enough, pruning the entire lower branches first gives you space to work. Wear a hoodie and shades..... Then thin out only the shorter upper branches. That leaves an open, lighter weight look to the top, with long willowy branches. I trained one of mine to a trellis fence, put table and chairs under another. Just keep trimming new growth close to the trunk

    Bookmark   June 16, 2008 at 8:27AM
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Your bogies are fab. I have one in a small pot hanging on a fence. I saw this a few years back and copied the idea. It eliminates the pruning work and the confinement of the roots will force them into more frequent blooming. I plan to add several more to the fence as I can. Gotta quit buying those roses first...

    Bookmark   June 16, 2008 at 11:10PM
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Wow, that's a cool looking bougainvillea! I enclosed a couple pics, I really don't know if I should just thin it out or make it bushier. My brain is dead on this for some reason! I enclosed a couple of pics, hope they work.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 8:30AM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

Thanks for the nice compliments!!

thonotorose , yes I completely agree. I like keeping them small and in check. I lived in Bradenton four years ago, and the house we lived in had one that was out of control. I hated pruning that thing. The thorns...always managed to draw blood everytime.

Phobe, I see your dilemma. That is one huge bush!!Definitely heed the warning from up above and wear gloves, they can really tear up your arms/legs, that's why I keep mine small, I hate those thorns. You can pretty much shape it anyway you like. You have the potential. Like fawnridge and others have said, you can't go wrong pruning them. Good luck!!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 3:29PM
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I have purchased a small bougainvillea (white flower with rose coloured tips) and would like to leave it in its container and encourage its growth along my wrought iron balcony trellis. It is situated facing East and will have a copious amount of Sun no matter the season. Right now it is covered with blossoms. Should I cut these back to encourage growth and should I "train" the vines along the wrought iron or do they seek out like some soft vines do? Never had "Boug" before but love them.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2009 at 3:56PM
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sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)

I would wait until it is done flowering, then trim it back. They bloom on new growth. You will likely have to 'train it along the fence at first. They don't twine or have tendrils like other vines do. You can keep it in a pot with very well draining soil. They actually bloom nicely when rootbound. During the summer I have to water the potted ones more than if they were in the ground but they can take a lot of abuse compared to other plants.
Here is a good link that helps to explain about bougainvillea care and what fertilizers to use etc.

Here is a link that might be useful: BGI

    Bookmark   January 30, 2009 at 9:40AM
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I have 3 one is shaped like a tree against a wall, which I need to prune under light or it will swallow it up...LOL

And the other two I prune like bushes:pic. taken at Xmas bougie on either side of holly tree:

    Bookmark   January 30, 2009 at 10:14AM
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My bougie hardly ever blooms. I have two that I've had for about two years. Both were covered with blooms and then planted in the ground. It seems that their growth has slowed and some catapillar has been nibbling on it. They have stopped blooming as well.

The recent cold snap also caused major leaf drop. Should I cut them back or just wait for recovery?

    Bookmark   January 30, 2009 at 2:18PM
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Cut back when it warms up, not now, location means a lot for blooms, lot's of sun! my bush types don't bloom much due to shade from holly tree,and shade from entry etc.I use a systemic for flowering plants for bugs etc.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2009 at 3:13PM
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hello, my bougie is higher than the house and seems to be everblooming, beautiful but with the freeze in florida last week, it is now dead so do I cut it back/down or will the frozen dead leaves fall off and will it come back on the dead stuff? help...

    Bookmark   January 31, 2009 at 1:54PM
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I love my bougie. It was the first plant I ever bought at a garden show and I love to look out my window and see the beautiful color.

I don't do much to it other than cut down any of those long sprouts once in a while. I haven't even fertilized (didn't know it needed it till today!)

    Bookmark   January 31, 2009 at 5:11PM
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Yes, the dried up leaves will fall off but do not prune until our frost/freeze time is over, then prune away, it will come back.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2009 at 6:51PM
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my father has a freestanding boughie it looks like a bonsai but it is 3 1/2 feet tall in a 2 by 2 1/2 foot pot it has two sturdy branches that grow up and curve he recently pruned it a liittle it hasent bloomed in a while be fore that and it only gets a few green spigs that just wilt off inside plant looks whit and green crazy thing is that it seems to be crying at the joints it has a little white sap but mostly water leaking out he has bandaged the worst leak. is this a sign of the plant being dormant. any help would be great

    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 9:14AM
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