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How To Prune Bougainvillea To The Right Shape?

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Bougainvillea is a fast-growing shrub, which produces small, inconspicuous flowers and variegated leaves. It grows cascading and unruly and can grow up to 20 feet tall.

During the blooming period, it can last for several consecutive weeks. Also, it comes in many colors, including pink, white, orange, and purple.

If you want the roots to want to be firm, be ready to reduce the size of the pot and space out the transplant. If you transplant bougainvillea to the new location, put it under the new conditions.

How To Prune Bougainvillea

Although this plant loves sunlight and heat, if it stays indoors or in areas with low light for a long time, it will be shocked, and the solution is to move it around in the sun.

Thick thorns that cover bougainvillea vines and long branches require regular pruning to keep them healthy and look beautiful.

Growing Conditions

Bougainvillea is the native plant in South America but can thrive in Florida because it loves the sun and heat. However, after adapting to a place, it requires some water to survive.

In areas that have low light conditions, it cannot bloom. This is the normal problem with homeowners who take bougainvillea inside the house.

The Benefits of Bougainvillea

  • It is beautiful – The plant is a large tropical plant, which attracts attention as it blooms.
  • Easy to maintain – When bougainvillea is trained to grow against the wall, it needs little help to do its best, like blooming and growing.
  • Resistant to drought – Bougainvillea becomes more beautiful when the growing conditions become dryer and hotter. So, these plants need virtually no additional watering.
  • Easy to train – Some homeowners love bougainvillea because it is easy to train to assume any shape you want. It can be turned into a beautiful tree with skilled landscapers using their hands.

Ideal Locations for Growing

Bougainvillea spreads and crawls through the ground without being trained or supported to grow upward. Many people plant it against trellises and walls and then tie it to the trellis or wall until it hangs on the wall by itself.

As a result, it doesn’t get tangled, making it different from other plants such as morning glory because it need help to grow upward.

You can plant bougainvillea in an area where there is plenty of room to grow. Choose a spot in a corner or around the house perimeter where nothing much is found. Bougainvillea loves more sun, which means the southern and western parts can be the best.

Bougainvillea is a great plant that grows best on the Florida property, particularly if you like big and chaotic plants in the tropical environment. Work with the landscaper and choose the best locations for your property for the new bougainvillea plant.

How To Prune Bougainvillea 2

How To Prune Bougainvillea

1. Do It in Early Spring

Technically, bougainvillea can be pruned any time of the year, though the right time to do it is in early spring for the plant’s integrity, before the plant begins to produce buds to usher in new flowers.

Once the buds form, you will limit flower production by cutting off new growth. In addition, if you prune very early, the frost can kill new growth, which emerges immediately after pruning.

You need to know that bougainvillea flowers in the cycle, in months, bloom robustly, followed by periods of inactivity. Pruning before the start of the new cycle lets the vine grow vigorously.

The correct month of the year when you need to prune it vary from one region to the other. Typically, the easiest way to know when it is time to prune is to check the weather.

Once the last period for the frost has passed, and the vine has not started to bud, know that is the time to prune.

2. Wear Thick Garden Gloves

Many species of bougainvillea have thick and very sharp thorns, which can hurt the hands. Some species also are poisonous and may even cause inflame or rashes on the skin.

If you are planning a large pruning period, prepare yourself with a thick pair of gloves. Also, you can wear thick and long sleeves to protect your arms and wrists. Some branches of bougainvillea have no thorns, though others are covered.

G F Products 1852 3 Women Soft Jersey Garden Gloves Women Work Gloves
G F Products 1852 3 Women Soft Jersey Garden Gloves Women Work Gloves via

3. Disinfect The Pruning Shears

Disinfecting your pruning shears with alcohol or other disinfectants before use will prevent you from spreading the diseases.

If you prune the affected part of the bougainvillea, you do not want to spread the disease to another part with similar dirty blades. Therefore, you need to plan to disinfect the shear blades every time you prune dead bougainvillea.

Prune away diseased or dead parts of the plant. Essentially, this becomes the first important step when pruning. To ensure the long-term health of your plant, you should prune anything that appears discolored or dead.

This can prevent any disease from spreading to other parts of the plant. Likewise, cut the branches from the main stem or node.

Remember to clean the pruning shears with disinfectant after pruning the diseased branches before proceeding to the healthy branches to prevent the spread of disease. Remove the branches that are diseased from the area to avoid contamination of the plant.

4. Prune Back the New Growth Midway Via The Blooming Cycle

The new blooms can be encouraged by cutting the new growth back midway through a blooming cycle. Cut above the node to encourage new branches to happen.

However, do not wait very late in the period, as it is too late at the cycle’s end to stimulate new flowers. Do not cut back old shoots until the early spring.

When Should Bougainvillea Be Pruned?

• If The Flowing Period Is Over

Bougainvillea flowers only appear on a new tree, so it is paramount to prune them after the flowering period. You can prune it well during these months and the winter months, followed by some pruning in the spring before the new blooms begin to sprout.

• If You Want to Rejuvenate or Shape It

Although bougainvillea blooms throughout the year, the largest bloom usually occurs in a fall. After that, bougainvillea goes through a growth phase, and new flowers form.

It will then grows in many shapes, from the ground. This means pruning is supposed to be done to rejuvenate or shape it. It should be done in early spring or late winter, immediately after flowering, to avoid stripping the flowers.

• If You’re Happy to Prune Bougainvillea by Just Trailing Around the Garden

This means you are not worried about the flowers, and you can gently prune them to remove overgrown areas, which have encroached on the rest of the garden or any diseased parts. However, if you’re looking for pretty flowers, you might need to do it more scientifically.

Tools That Are Used When Pruning Bougainvillea

When pruning bougainvillea, it is imperative, to begin with, the right safety equipment. Wear heavy gardening gloves because some plants have sharp thorns, which can cause injury.

Also, it would help if you had to consider eye protection gears to protect your eyes from small particles or squirts of sap.

Fiskars 391461 1003 Bypass Lopper
Fiskars 391461 1003 Bypass Lopper via

A pair of secateurs, which are good and sharp, can be tricky with the real prune. They are supposed to be held comfortably so that your hands don’t get tired or blistered and should be the correct size.

It is not good to use the tree loppers to prune thin and small twigs. If you have a very old tree with very thick branches that are well established, you may need larger scissors or pruning saws.


Bougainvillea is known as a climbing plant that grows by climbing poles and tall plants. It is woody, which means it’s not unreasonable to think it may be worked like wood.

It would be best to have more patience because pruning is not done, either one year or two. The growth rate is quite slow, so pruning needs to be done regularly. This encourages the new growth to ensure the precious flower continues to grow.