House Plants/Bougainvillea

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Question
I live in Lubbock Texas, not the most container friendly region. My 4 yr old bougainvillea (container) is producing new growth at an astonishing rate.(5' tall, almost as wide)  Some tell me prune now for blooms others say wait until it blooms. Its in a 24" pot & has never been transplanted.  I'm confused. Thank you.

Answer
Hi Kelli,

Your Bougainvillea is probably growing at an astonishing rate now that its roots have filled the pot. Keeping it potbound is a GOOD thing and will help promote flowering. Once potbound, Bougainvilleas are very rapid growers, especially in good sunlight.

It is best to prune this plant back very sharply in February-March following its semi-dormant period in winter. Flowers appear on new growth only, so if you prune it back now, you may not get any flowers until late summer, if at all.

My recommendation is to leave it unpruned for now and enjoy the flowers that you will get soon. Late next winter, prune it it WAAAY back and get it to the size and shape that you want, remembering that new growth will follow along with flowers next spring and summer. It is best to follow this pruning regimen every year to keep your plant looking shapely and producing lots of flowers.

Please let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have any additional questions.

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Regards,
Will Creed, Interior Landscaper
Horticultural Help, NYC


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Will Creed

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I am the only expert in this category with professional hands-on experience and knowledge of all indoor plants. I can answer questions regarding light, water, fertilizer, repotting, pruning and humidity and temperature requirements. I can identify plant pests and provide information on safe, effective treatments. My answers are based on 35 years of professional experience and scientific research and are clear and easy to understand. I do NOT use search engines to find answers to your questions. If you read my previous posts here, you will get a good idea as to how thorough and professional my answers are.

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I have over 35 years of professional indoor landscaping experience caring for plants in homes, offices, building lobbies, stores, restaurants, and other adverse environments. I have written extensively on the care of indoor plants, including a 260 page book. My specialties include Ficus trees, low light plants, repotting, pest control, and re-blooming holiday plants. Be sure to check my ratings and nominations to learn why I am the top-rated indoor plant expert. I am the only House Plant expert consistently ranked in the AllExperts Top 20.

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BA, Amherst College

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