Learning how to trim bougainvillea is an important task that must be done at least once a year. A thick layered shrub, the bougainvillea grows in large clusters that produce a lovely lush green foliage. There are many different varieties of the bougainvillea available; some are easier to grow than others. Trimming the dense and heavy leaves can be done by hand or with a pair of scissors, depending on the size of the plants. The stems should also be trimmed back occasionally.
For a beginner it is best to plant in larger pots and grow in the garden where there is direct sunlight and good drainage. Pots that are placed near walls will not be able to support the weight of the plant and will have to be replaced. Growing the bougainvillea from seed is possible, however, the plant will not flower for another three years unless kept in a sunny window all through the day. Seedlings can be easily obtained from most garden centers or from people selling their flowers.
It is best to plant the seeds about six inches deep so that they receive the right amount of water and air as they develop. One or two shoots should be planted each month along the edges of the soil near the drainage hole. These should be planted just beneath the upper surface with the seeds about a foot above ground level. The growth of the bougainvillea consists mainly of two seasons, the wet season which lasts from late spring to late summer and the dry season which occurs between September and December.
The first step in caring for the plant after it has been established is to remove all the weeds that are in the root system and to remove all the dead and damaged roots. These should be pushed gently into the soil so that they do not get pulled up under the soil and break off. A wire brush can be used to accomplish this. Once the new shoots have developed the cuttings can be buried in the dirt a few inches below the soil line.
Bougainvillea loves a steady supply of water. During the hot months it does best in well-drained soil with lots of sun. During the cooler months it needs more water, but only if the soil is poorly drained. In either case, the plant should be potted in a shallow dish of water in a well-ventilated area and the potting mix made with organic material, not compost, to allow for good air circulation around the roots.
If the climate of the area in which the plant is grown is cold, the roots will not go into dormancy. In such cases it is best to move the plants indoors during the winter season. The temperature will increase the time needed for the roots to go into dormancy. Trim the root system before moving the buds inside.
When pruning, keep an eye out for damaged or dead branches. Remove them if they are badly broken and lose their vigor. Trim the branches with wire clippers, but use care as the weight of the branch could damage the support underneath the main support beam. This is especially true when the branches carry the root system up a stem. Water well after pruning, but do not overwater or else the root system might contract and collapse.
Bougainvillea grows extremely fast and can form massive clumps in a very short time. This is why it is so easy to show off by setting up a mini-gardening show in one’s garden. For the best results, establish a weekly routine of trimming these plants to maintain their abundance flowering and ease of growth. If one does not prune these plants, the plant can get out of control and form huge bushes which will be very hard to manage. Home care for this exotic perennial is very easy and the rewarding results will be abundant flowering and healthy plants for many years.