The Q&A Archives: Espaliering bougainvillea

Question: I am training bougainvillea on copper wire along a cinder block wall. I have been fortunate that shoots occured along the main stem for most of the copper wire, but not along all the wire. I have cut into the main stem above a node where a leaf once was to try to simulate growth for another side branch, but nothing happened. Any suggestions like a growth hormone stimulant or another method that I can try?

Answer: I think you're on the right track in pruning as you have, but you'll need to be just a little more patient with your bougainvillea. These plants have cycles of growing and resting and flowering which they repeat up to 6 times a year. When it's time to put out new growth, it should send out new shoots at the site of the injury (pruning cut). Aside from pinching the tips of the growing branches out to stimulate new growth behind the pinch, you really can't direct the new growth - it may not appear exactly where you want it to appear - at least for a year or two. In the meantime, enjoy your bougainvillea!

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