advice pls for rescued bouganvillea

ponytail73December 28, 2012

Hi Everyone! I have read threw this forum before seeking advice, but just signed up today! I must say! I have gotten a lot of great tips and you are all so kind to each other. I live in NH zone 5. I just moved to my first house 4 yrs ago and have become compleatly adicted to growing things, inside and out! Anyway, enough about me, on to my new project! I took a discarded potted bouganvillea from work late in november. It was sad looking but alive! I cut it down to live growth,so not much was left. and added dirt since pot had been dumped. so now! Its alive and growing crazy shoots all over, from the trunk part to the ends, and getting wild! not that I mind, it has to share bay window with just a few others and iv got him a little broken pitch fork to ravel up. My question really is. what now? should I be trimming off these new shoots? how much and when? and how? Iv been so grateful he lived until it hit me! I could be treating him badly and not getting desired results. Should I feed him, or wait til spring? I realize in my zone a lot of people use these as anuals. however I would like to recycle him for as many years as possable! I would appreciate any and all advice from anyone who has over wintered these and had success! Thanks for reading!

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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Hi & welcome to Gardenweb! If you can keep it alive for winter, that's a good accomplishment. Sounds like that's going well since it's growing. Bougs are known to NOT flower if fertilized, so I wouldn't. No reason to not trim anything that gets out of hand while inside if you need to.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 10:25AM
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If you you tend to coddle your plants, this is not the plant for you. I agree with Purple, cut away but do not feed. They LOVE--HEAT, FULL SUN, Prolonged DROUGHT conditions, the occasional watering, and POOR/NON-FERTILE soils. For this neglect, they will reward with blooms even in the dead of winter as long as you get SUN and forget the watering for extended periods. Think 'though love'!

    Bookmark   December 30, 2012 at 11:35AM
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i don't have any experience in overwintering plants, but i'm most sure that you should cut back in watering enough to keep the plant alive through because you're not expecting growth with the decreased light level and cold. don't bring in fertilizer until next spring as mentioned. the best time to prune is in late winter or early spring to promote fuller growth and blooms to unfold. (since most bougainvillea tend to bloom on young shoots.)
here in the windy tropics, some varieties of bougainvillea can bloom as much as you want. at least, the ones i own that are in fertile soil, big pots, free-draining soil mix...
putting the plant in a near-death state is also an effective method to promote blooms and colorful bracts to unfold. when deprived of water for extended period of time and watered late at once, the plant will see this as an opportunity to bloom to carry on his posterity as a last resort.
though i'd prepare the former method if i were you if condition permits.

This post was edited by keylyn on Mon, Dec 31, 12 at 9:38

    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 9:22AM
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Wow! Thanks everyone for great advice! I will leave him in that sunny window and cut some of those crazy shoots, then do my best to ignore him a while! I have not over wintered much of anything before, but I'm going to give it my best. The hardest part may be just to leave him alone! You all are great! I'm happy I signed up for this site. Thanks again!

    Bookmark   January 2, 2013 at 7:34AM
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