Bougainvillea pruning

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ritamax

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Bougainvillea pruning
« on: September 22, 2012, 11:08:30 AM »
The bougainvillea we have from the previous owners is in an uncomfortable and narrow place between the gates. The lower branches have to be taken out entirely. The higher branches can arch, but at the moment they are too long (this photo is taken in June, when it was still ok). What is the right procedure to prune those long branches? To take them completely out or to shorten them to some specific lenght?
Hobbygardener (MGS member) with a rooftop garden in Basel and a garden on heavy clay with sand 600m from seaside in Costa Blanca South (precipitation 300mm), learning to garden waterwise

pamela

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Re: Bougainvillea pruning
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2012, 04:16:36 PM »
This looks to me like a B. spectabilis because of the habit of long fronds. This happens every year and it will always arch. You can cut it back hard in February, maybe to 1 metre which will give you several smaller arches in the first year, but it will always come back to the same habit. B. glabra is the more compact version which doesn't arch as much  and is usually medium/dark magenta.  Yours grew very early in the year...mine usually put on that sort of growth in August. BTW I think they look beautiful like a lovely chalice!
« Last Edit: September 23, 2012, 08:05:13 PM by pamela »
Jávea, Costa Blanca, Spain
Min temp 5c max temp 38c  Rainfall 550 mm 

"Who passes by sees the leaves;
 Who asks, sees the roots."
     - Charcoal Seller, Madagascar

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ritamax

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Re: Bougainvillea pruning
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2012, 03:22:52 PM »
Thank you, Pamela, I looked it up and you're right, it must be B.spectabilis. A bit different leaf form, not smooth leaves as B.glabra, but slightly hairy. The main difference is the blooming cycle, B.glabra blooms repeatedly, B.spectabilis seasonally responding to hot, dry weather. Glabra tolerates cooler conditions better.  Spectabilis looks worse in winter than glabra.
The branches with the vicious thorns were reaching one's head dangerously, so I took some branches completely out as I wasn't sure how to prune it in order to maintain the chalice character. If I would have just shorten the branches it would probably make too many side shoots. I will leave it as it is until February. There was a controversial information about the fertilizer, some sources recommending a nitrogen feed, some a phosphor feed. Generally the recommended pH for bougainvilleas was 5-6,5.
Hobbygardener (MGS member) with a rooftop garden in Basel and a garden on heavy clay with sand 600m from seaside in Costa Blanca South (precipitation 300mm), learning to garden waterwise

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Marilyn

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Re: Bougainvillea pruning
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2012, 04:09:48 PM »
Hi Ritamax, my experience with bougainvilleas is that they are very tough, you can do what you like with them and they will always sprout back with those long runners, so don't be afraid of pruning them where they are in the way; they are very hard to kill by cutting!

To get a better show of flower and less extension growth, I would suggest running a couple of wires along the top of the wall of the structure where they are growing, and tie in a few of those long shoots horizontally. They should then produce lots of short, flowering branches from those stems. The surplus shoots you can cut right back to the main stem.

Hope that helps!
I work in hotel and private gardens, promoting sustainable landscape management in the mediterranean climate through the use of diverse, beautiful and appropriate plants. At home, I garden on two balconies containing mostly succulents.

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ritamax

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Re: Bougainvillea pruning
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2012, 09:06:37 AM »
Thank you, Marilyn, I will try that! So bougainvillea produces flowering side shoots if tied horizontally, in the similar way the climber roses do. 
Hobbygardener (MGS member) with a rooftop garden in Basel and a garden on heavy clay with sand 600m from seaside in Costa Blanca South (precipitation 300mm), learning to garden waterwise

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MikeHardman

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Pruning water shoots on dwarf Bougainvillea...
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2013, 05:09:13 PM »
I have a dwarf Bougainvillea, which settled in OK after planting, and remained modest in its growth for a few months. Just recently, however, it has put out much more vigorous water shoots (see photo).

This is the first dwarf B. I have grown. Are these water shoots to be tolerated? My quandary comes because I have seen floriferous shoots maybe 2m tall on such plants elsewhere, which are in-keeping with the dwarf stature - and I don't know if the current water shoots will turn into those.  ...Or whether they really must be pruned off. I don't even know if my dwarf is grafted or on its own roots (it is rather difficult to see).

Advice gratefully received.
Mike
Geologist by Uni training, IT consultant, Referee for Viola for Botanical Society of the British Isles, commissioned author and photographer on Viola for RHS (Enc. of Perennials, The Garden, The Plantsman).
I garden near Polis, Cyprus, 100m alt., on marl, but have gardened mainly in S.England

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oron peri

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Re: Bougainvillea pruning
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2013, 07:28:22 PM »
Mark,

Your Bouganvillea looks like a typical B. glabra to my eyes.
It is certinally will not be dwarf unless you would prune these new branches.
This species is slower and has more compact habit but it can cover large trees after several years, the 'water shoots' can grow few meters in one seoson to than become multy branced and set flowers after a couple more years.
Garden Designer, Bulb man, Botanical tours guide.
Living and gardening in Tivon, Lower Galilee region, North Israel.
Min temp 5c Max 42c, around 450mm rain.

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MikeHardman

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Re: Bougainvillea pruning
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2013, 10:01:46 PM »
Many thanks Oron // Mike
Mike
Geologist by Uni training, IT consultant, Referee for Viola for Botanical Society of the British Isles, commissioned author and photographer on Viola for RHS (Enc. of Perennials, The Garden, The Plantsman).
I garden near Polis, Cyprus, 100m alt., on marl, but have gardened mainly in S.England

Sandra

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Re: Bougainvillea pruning
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2013, 06:49:15 PM »
My bougainvillea is a lovely deep magenta colour but the bracts turn brown after flowering. Is this just the way it is with my particular variety or should I be doing something different?
Sandra Panting
I garden in the Southern Peloponnese, Greece and will soon be creating a small garden in Northampton, England.  I'm co-head of the MGS Peloponnese group and a member of the RHS.

Daisy

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Re: Bougainvillea pruning
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2013, 09:19:34 AM »
Sandra. I am very much a novice when it comes to Bougainvilleas, but I am wondering if your Bougainvilleas are double varieties.
I have noticed that the single varieties drop their bracts before they brown, but the double varieties tend to hang on to the plant and turn brown in situ.
Daisy :)
Amateur gardener, who has gardened in Surrey and Cornwall, England, but now has a tiny garden facing north west, near the coast in north east Crete. It is 300 meters above sea level. On a steep learning curve!!! Member of both MGS and RHS

Hilary

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Re: Bougainvillea pruning
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2013, 02:00:34 PM »
I too am interested about what to do with the dry brachts left on the bougainvillea.
No one seems to have replied to this problem.
I have attached a photo of how they apper today long after flowering in the spring
Hilary
MGS member
Living in Korinthos, Greece.
No garden but two balconies, one facing south and the other north.
Most of my plants are succulents which need little care

pamela

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Re: Bougainvillea pruning
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2013, 05:26:59 PM »
I get dry bracts some years on B. Glabra which I cut off during the late summer. (Mine is just a very ordinary single variety).  But this year I got none. It didnt put a lot of growth and no brown bracts.    I think it might be a water issue.  My B. spectabilis doesnt get dry bracts.... I have just pruned all my Bougainvilleas for this year.  I am going to tie shoots in like mad this year as suggested by Marilyn and hope for even more colour!
« Last Edit: January 30, 2013, 02:12:24 PM by pamela »
Jávea, Costa Blanca, Spain
Min temp 5c max temp 38c  Rainfall 550 mm 

"Who passes by sees the leaves;
 Who asks, sees the roots."
     - Charcoal Seller, Madagascar

Trevor Australis

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Re: Bougainvillea pruning
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2013, 11:34:06 PM »
Experience here suggests that there is a difference between 'dwarf' and 'compact' Bougainvileas. Compact varieties appear to grow considerably larger than those called dwarf. My observation is that the dwarf forms are quite manageable growing about 3m maximum and less if the new growths are tied down sideways. I've also noticed that the dwarf forms begin to flower along the whole length of the canes as they emerge so I'm of the view that somehow breeders have managed to breed out the long growth that usually precedes flowers on older, larger growing kinds. I haven't made a strict observation of the different dwarf forms but my recollection is that these all have double flowers. tn
M Land. Arch., B. Sp. Ed. Teacher, traveller and usually climate compatible.

Hilary

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Re: Bougainvillea pruning
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2016, 04:26:29 PM »
We have two Bougainvillea in large pots.
Now, in the middle of April, they are very colourful but will soon drop their 'flowers'
I wonder if I water them too little or too much?

Somewhere, some time ago,  I read about when Bougainvillea were first introduced to Greece.
I would love to know the year as it is something which astounds people.
It is very difficult to think of the Greek islands without these colourful climbers.
MGS member
Living in Korinthos, Greece.
No garden but two balconies, one facing south and the other north.
Most of my plants are succulents which need little care

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John J

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Re: Bougainvillea pruning
« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2016, 07:12:17 PM »
Hilary, I can't supply an exact year but I think you'll find it was around 200 years ago, early 19th C.
Cyprus Branch Head. Gardens in a field 40 m above sea level with reasonably fertile clay soil.
"Aphrodite emerged from the sea and came ashore and at her feet all manner of plants sprang forth" John Deacon (13thC AD)