How to prune a bougainvillea in a pot - practical guide

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The bougainvillea, also called bougainvillea, bougainvillea, Santa Rita, veranera, papelillo, trinitaria or Napoleón, 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 facility to adjust to a shape according to pruning or even to become entangled in various surfaces, it can be planted in the ground but also in large pots.

It is an easy plant to care for, but it must be taken into account that it does not withstand frost well and needs heat. Especially when it is planted in a pot or pot is when it is necessary to give it more attention, since it may lack space and it may have growth problems. Thus, it is vital to know how to prune it properly and, for this reason, at Ecologista Verde 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 care of potted bougainvillea, but later we will explain some of them better.

  • Origin: South America, mainly Brazil.
  • Location: in full sun, needs a lot of heat.
  • Pruning: during growth, before blooming, and after blooming for maintenance.
  • Light: it needs a lot of light.
  • Minimum temperature: 3ºC.
  • Irrigation: in hot season, water every 3 days. In winter, separate the waterings more.
  • Fertilizer: organic or natural in winter and with more minerals in summer.

How and when to prune a bougainvillea or bougainvillea

Bougainvillea is a climbing plant that is characterized by its false flowers or false petals, called bracts, which are colorful and hide the authentic small white flower. Mainly, we can find bougainvilleas in white, orange, pink, fuchsia or deep red. It is just before and after flowering that these false petals and tiny flowers appear, When is it better 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 to do 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 illness if the conditions for growth are not suitable. Therefore, with this pruning we can control that it grows more appropriately to the area and space available. For example, if you do not have a wall or fence to hold on to to climb, it is better to prune the bougainvillea in the form of a small tree or shrub and, thus, it will be lush but smaller in size. On the other hand, if it is in a large pot and has the space to climb, then it should be pruned so that it branches and the stems grow long, while helping them to become entangled by this surface.

Another type of bougainvillea pruning is what you have to do after flowering, at the end of the 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 bougainvillea in a pot step by step

  1. You will need sharp, sanitized pruning shears, and before you start, take a good look at the plant from a distance to see which parts to cut.
  2. If you want a shrub or small tree that won't climb, apart from keeping it away from walls and fences, prune the bougainvillea to half the height. In this way the growth of low stems is stimulated, forming a more dense, compact and shorter plant, making it a ball.
  3. In this case, of each young or new branch, find the bud that is halfway up the plant, or even less, and cut a centimeter above it. The bud is a small bulge 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 maintenance, especially after flowering, you just have to remove the dry leaves and branches with your hands or pruning shears and, in addition, place tutors 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, as it is large and has not been formed into a small bush.

Planting 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 stop plant a bougainvillea in a pot you need one part of another and it is easier to do it by cutting if later you are going to place the new plant in another area. 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 calmly and avoid transplants. It is better to avoid pot changes 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 to know how to choose the pot for your plant and to be able to plant the cuttings without problems.

Location, light and temperature for a potted bougainvillea

As we have seen in the initial tab, 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 holds 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 middle of the garden, terrace or terrain, where you get a lot of sunlight, and it will also be much better if you 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 from the beginning you give it the best corner in your garden.

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, you have 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.

In case of doubts, it is best look at the humidity of the earth or substrate. You can use a moisture meter that you can buy in garden stores or, drive a wooden stick and see if it is dry and clean or damp and dirt when you take it out. In case the stick is dry, or very little humid, or the meter indicates little humidity, then surely you should water the plant.

If you want to read more articles similar to How to prune a potted bougainvillea, we recommend that you enter our category of Cultivation and care of plants.

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