Bougainvilleas are tropical plants that thrive in outdoor areas with low rainfall and intense heat, someone say desert! They need lots of sun and are happy with Arizona temperatures reaching over 100 degrees. They have thin roots that are somewhat delicate and we find our Bougainvilleas take more of our attention in the garden.
My conclusion and my gardening experience with Bougainvilleas is that they are happier growing in large pots with good drainage.
In this picture above, the stem looks bare because I recently removed the dead leaves and new blooms are just arriving. The Bougainvillea loves this planter and will fill out in no time!
The amount of watering needed for your bougainvillea is directly related to your area and the local weather. There are some basics – Bougainvillea is a drought resistant plant, and requires very little water once established and mature. Let the soil dry between waterings; if your Bougainvillea’s roots stay continuously wet it will promote a weak and shallow root system. Wilting is the best indicator that watering is needed. Don’t let it dry out completely as this will cause bracts and foliage to drop.
For Bougainvilleas planted in the ground: At the time of watering, do it thoroughly – making sure that every inch of root gets watered! I use long bamboo garden stakes to measure how far down the watering has reached and I soak until it reaches 8 inches. This will create a stronger root system for your bougainvillea. Deep watering is the key!
In Florida, landscape professionals commonly perform a hard cut at the first sign of summer, and keep on a regular trimming schedule all summer long to maintain size. Pinching is the method of removing the soft tips of young plant stems to encourage fuller growth. This hardy plant will send out several new stems just below the pinched tip. I am going to prune/pinch all 6 of our Bougainvilleas this week. My Arizona Garden keeps me busy, and I love it!
The more regularly you pinch, the more your bougainvillea will branch and bloom. The best time to prune or pinch is after the flush of color or flowering cycle is completed. Flowering cycles are typically four to six weeks. Lets get pinching!