Answer: The vibrant color of the bougainvillea comes from three large bracts that surround the tiny flowers. Do your major pruning as early as possible in spring, before new growth begins in earnest. During the growing season you can prune as needed to direct growth. Begin by cutting away the old, dead wood, pulling it out from the mass of vines. Once that's finished, cut back some of the older, thicker vines to encourage new growth. Cut them down to a point where you want new stems to emerge. Finally, tip prune some of the remaining vines to encourage new shoots. Try not to remove more than about one-third of the live plant material in any one pruning session and your plant will be less likely to go into shock.
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