The Q&A Archives: growing tree

Question: I have a bougainvillea spectabilis(not really sure what the common name is) tree is growing really out of control. I've been growing it for 3years and the trunk is thicker than a feet. but not many flowers. I would like to find a way to prevent it from growing too fast and get more flowers.

Answer: The easiest way to control size and encourage more blooms is to pinch out the growing tips of your plant. Bougainvillea has two distint growth cycles:
A vegetative growth period for seveal weeks -- when new leaves and stems grow.

If the plant receives enough sunlight the plant will form buds during this time. If there is not enough sunlight, the plant will remain in vegetative cycle.
A blooming period of several weeks when little or no vegetative growth occurs.

The length of time they will bloom is dependent upon the health of the plant and the environment they are in, the more sun and heat, the better. However, long days and short nights limit a bougainvilleas' ability to bloom.

Start now to encourage a dense, bushy growth habit by pinching out the tips of the the stems. Allow the plant to recover and grow for 4-5 weeks, then pinch the tips of the stems out again. You can pinch all summer; stop pinching in the fall and resume pinching again in the spring. By keeping the tips of the stems pinched out you'll control the size of the plant and encourage additional blooming.


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