How to Prune Potted Bougainvillea

pruning bougainvillea in pot

There is no doubt that bougainvillea is a plant that, when you see it, you fall in love with it. Its climbing size in a pot, the flowers it produces and its resistance are just some of its characteristics. The problem is that, if you leave it as it is, it can invade too much and make it ugly. So, Potted bougainvillea pruning is one of the most important care you should provide.

And how is that done? Don't worry, we are going to talk at length about pruning bougainvillea in pots below.

Why you should prune potted bougainvillea

bougainvillea growing on walls

It is possible that right now you are wondering what are the reasons why you have to prune it since, being in a pot, it should not grow much. But in reality you are wrong, and you do it because, during the spring and summer months, it tends to have a fairly high growth, to the point that, if you do not control it, it could invade the space of other plants, or worse, your house.

Yes, when the bougainvillea grows and is left to its own devices, if it is resting on your house, it is possible that it reaches the roof, the gutters or other surfaces on which it catches and can cause damage.

Therefore, it is highly recommended, since in addition uncontrolled growth would affect the health of the plant.

When to prune bougainvillea

bougainvillea flowers

The first thing to know about pruning potted bougainvillea is when to do it. Although, like any other plant, it has several types of pruning, the real one, that is, the one that really is a pruning, that must be done Always at the end of winter. But not like in other plants that you have to wait until February to do it. Bougainvillea is a bit special.

And it is that, if you do it like this, you run the risk of running out of this plant, because it suffers a lot and it may not be the time yet.

Actually, the best date to prune bougainvillea is going to be in the moment when the nights are not so cold. Of course, you have to prune it when it has not yet started its activity, that is, it is in lethargy.

If it happens to you and suddenly when you want to prune it, it turns out that it is already active, it is better not to touch it and make small pruning throughout the spring and summer to wait for the next winter and be able to do it. However, you must be aware that, if this happens, your bougainvillea will not grow as much as you would like, as well as being more spacious in the stems, leaves and flowers.

So, as a summary, you have:

  • Pruning should be done at the end of winter, when the nights are not very cold and the plant has not started its development.
  • You can give it a light pruning during the spring and summer. By trimming the stems you will make it grow stronger and also the flowering will be longer.

Since the bougainvillea is potted, facing the winter it is convenient that you protect it from the cold, one of the great enemies of this plant, to prevent it from being damaged.

How to Prune Potted Bougainvillea

prune bougainvillea to keep shape

Now yes, we are going to give you all the keys that you must take into account to prune the potted bougainvillea. To do this, it is best to follow these steps:

Prepare all the tools

If you have a bougainvillea, no matter how big or small, you will know that it develops a series of woody stems and, on them, thorns. So if you don't protect yourself well, in the end you would end up with blood on your hands and other parts of your body.

So one of the first items you need are some gardening gloves If possible, be as thick as possible so that the thorns do not pass through them and you end up hurting yourself.

It is also advisable to safety glasses, but only if your bougainvillea is very large. If not, you shouldn't have to use them if you don't want to.

As for pruning tools, we recommend that you get some Gardening scissors. Of course, before using them you must make sure, first, that they are sharp and, second, that they are disinfected.

Disinfection is very easy because you just have to wipe them with a cotton swab with alcohol. Another option that is made, in addition to that, is to put a little fungicide on them since, as it is going to be cut, for the plants this is a wound and so that they do not get sick from it, it is a way of safeguarding it of infections.

Types of pruning bougainvillea in pot

You already have everything, and now what is missing is to get down to work. But how to do it? Always start from the premise that Bougainvillea is a plant that is very resistant to pruning. So, if you overdo it, in general terms the plant will come back to life as long as it is healthy and stimulated well (pruning has something to do with that).

But, to prune it, it may happen that you find yourself with several situations such as:

Formation pruning

This pruning is done during first years of life to ensure that the plant has the shape that we want.

In this case, you first have to observe the plant from all possible angles to know how you are going to proceed with the pruning. If you already have a fixed idea or have begun to form it, it is most likely that you only have to remove what is outside the lines that you have drawn in its formation.

It may be a minimal pruning, but don't worry because it will work anyway, except that, throughout the spring and summer, you will have to touch it up so that it doesn't lose its shape.

Flowering pruning

This pruning is one of the most common. When you already have the bougainvillea formed, the next step to prune the potted bougainvillea is make it bloom as much as possible. And for this you must make sure:

  • Remove the branches that are dry and weakened.
  • Eliminate those that disfigure the whole bougainvillea.
  • Remove lower branches because they are the ones that stay with the energy and you will not get it to bloom as it should.
  • Cut the tips of the branches to stimulate the growth of the plant and, with it, flowering.

Rejuvenation pruning

Finally, we have the rejuvenation pruning that consists of cut it to medium height to get more growth in the lower stems and thus revitalize it. Little by little, you will cut the high branches so that the low ones continue to grow and you will have a younger plant again.

Now you know how to prune potted bougainvillea. Have you ever done it?

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