The Q&A Archives: Overwintering Bougainvillea

Question: I want to plant Bougainvillea in tubs, and train up the trellis. I have the capability of rolling all tubs into our heated garage for the winter months. What is the best way to assure they will survive through the winter in this climate?
What would the best mixture be to put in the tubs, and do I cut back the vines each year or let them be?
Thank you

Answer: Bougainvilleas bloom on new wood, and they bloom on a 5-6 weeks cycle. Prune them back after each flush of flowers and they will remain bushy and bright. If you have a bright, sunny location indoors it might overwinter for you. Any well-drained potting soil will do. Use a pot that is at least 18 inches deep and wide. Don't overwater or over fertilize; allow the soil to dry out between waterings and fertilize no more than once a month. If you can overwinter it, leaving it in a pot might be best, as constantly transplanting it will be a shock to its root system.

I'm not sure that a garage is the best place for your Bougainvillea. To remain alive, it needs at least 4 hours of sunshine a day. If you can provide supplemental lighting, it just might be happy in the garage.

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