Gardening Tips

How to Prune a Potted Bougainvillea

How to Prune a Potted Bougainvillea

The bougainvillea, also called bougainvillea, bougainvillea, Santa Rita, veranera, papelillo, trinitaria or Napoleon, is a very common plant outdoors, since it can grow a lot and needs a lot of sun. Although it can grow several meters, as it has the ease of adjusting to a shape as it is pruned or even tangled on various surfaces, it can be planted in the ground but also in large pots.

It is an easy plant to take care of, but it must be taken into account that it does not tolerate frost well and needs heat. Especially when it is planted in a pot or pot, it is when it is necessary to pay more attention to it, since it may lack space and may have growth problems. Thus, it is vital to know how to prune it properly and, for this reason, at EcologíaVerde we are going to teach you how to prune a potted bougainvillea.

Basic care of a potted bougainvillea

bougainvillea or bougainvillea glabra It is native to South America, so it needs a lot of natural light and heat. As a summary, we give you the information of basic bougainvillea care in potbut later we will explain some of them better.

  • Origin: South America, mainly Brazil.
  • Location: full sun, needs a lot of heat.
  • Pruning: during growth, before flowering, and after flowering for maintenance.
  • Light: needs a lot of light.
  • Minimum temperature: 3ºC.
  • Irrigation: in hot weather, water every 3 days. In winter, separate more waterings.
  • Fertilizer: organic or natural in winter and with more minerals in summer.
How to prune a potted bougainvillea - Basic care of a potted bougainvillea

How and when to prune a bougainvillea or bougainvillea

Bougainvillea is a climbing plant characterized by its false flowers or false petals, called bracts, which are colorful and hide the real small white flower. Mainly, we can find white, orange, pink, fuchsia or intense red bougainvillea. It is just before and after flowering that these false petals and tiny flowers appear, when is it best to prune a potted bougainvillea or planted in the ground.

Thus, the moment of pruning a bougainvillea depends on what we want to do it for. For example, there is the drastic pruning of bougainvillea what is done between January and March to control growth well, since they grow very fast and, above all, in a pot it can be a problem that leads to disease if the conditions for growth are not adequate. Therefore, with this pruning we can control that it grows more appropriately to the area and space available. For example, if you don’t have a wall or fence to cling to when climbing, it’s better to prune the bougainvillea into a small tree or bush, so it will be leafy but smaller. On the other hand, if it is in a large pot and has space to climb, then it should be pruned so that it branches out and the stems grow long, while helping them to entangle themselves on this surface.

Another type of bougainvillea pruning is the one to do after flowering, at the end of summer, to remove all the oldest and driest parts. It is also convenient to prune it when it is sick and there are parts that are difficult to save.

How to prune potted bougainvillea step by step

  1. You’ll need sharp, sanitized pruning shears, and before you begin, take a good look at the plant from a distance to see which parts you need to cut.
  2. If you want a shrub or small tree that does not climb, apart from keeping it away from walls and fences, prune the bougainvillea by half the height. In this way, the growth of low stems is stimulated, forming a denser, more compact and shorter plant, forming a ball shape.
  3. In this case, from each young or new branch, look for the bud that is halfway up the plant, or even less, and cut a centimeter above it. The bud is a small bump that you will see mostly next to the leaves, although they can also be along the rest of the stem.
  4. If the pruning is for maintenance, especially after flowering, you only have to remove the dry leaves and branches with your hands or pruning shears and, in addition, place stakes or growth guides.

Make clean cuts to avoid damage to the bougainvillea, for this you only need to ensure that the pruning shears are sharp, clean of rust and disinfected. The plant in the image is a clear example of a bougainvillea that is pruned only when it needs maintenance, mainly after flowering or when it becomes ill, since it is large and has not been formed into a small bush.

How To Prune A Potted Bougainvillea - How And When To Prune A Bougainvillea Or Bougainvillea

Plant a potted bougainvillea

There are those who want to sow this plant, but the truth is that it does not reproduce by seeds, but by air and ground layering and by cuttings. So for plant a potted bougainvillea you need a part of another and it is easier to do it by cutting if you are going to place the new plant in another area later. In this other article we explain how to make cuttings in a simple way.

Another vital aspect of caring for a bougainvillea is choosing the most suitable pot. It is best to have one bougainvillea in a large pot from the moment of planting the cutting so that it can grow with peace of mind and avoid transplants. It is better to avoid changing the pot because it is a plant with very sensitive roots and can die with the change. Apart from the size, you have to think about the material of the pot so that it resists well the amount of soil and the growth of this plant. We recommend terracotta or resistant plastic pots.

In this other article, we give you tips on how to choose the pot for your plant and be able to plant the cuttings without problems.

Location, Light, and Temperature for a Potted Bougainvillea

As we have seen in the initial sheet, this plant needs a lot of direct sunlight and heat. For this reason, it is one of the plants that we have included in this list of Garden plants with sun-resistant flowers. In fact, the minimum temperature that it withstands well if we protect it while it is outside is 3ºC, so it does not withstand frost well and it is easy for it to die.

Thus, the ideal location for potted bougainvillea is in the garden, terrace or ground, where it gets a lot of sunlight, and it will also be much better if it can have a surface on which to climb, tangle and grow. Remember that it is sensitive to transplants, so it is better that you do not change its location or pot much and that you give it the best corner in your garden from the beginning.

How To Prune A Potted Bougainvillea - Location, Light And Temperature For A Potted Bougainvillea

Watering a Potted Bougainvillea

For a bougainvillea to grow well, it will be very important to water it regularly. The frequency of watering will vary depending on the climate of the area as well as the location of the pot, but in general, it is necessary to water a bougainvillea every 3 days in summer and make it more spaced the rest of the year, for example, every 5-6 days.

If in doubt, it is best look at the humidity of the earth or substrate. You can use a humidity meter that you can buy in garden stores or, stick a wooden stick and see if when you take it out it is dry and clean or wet and with soil. In case the stick is dry, or very slightly moist, or the meter indicates low humidity, then surely you should water the plant.

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