The Q&A Archives: Bougainvilleas

Question: I purchased two bougainvillea vines. I did not plant them in the ground because I purchased a large wooden arbor which had two large wooden boxes beneath for planting. Question: how often should I fertilize and what kind of fertilizer? I have it in full sun. The pink vine has the shell of dead flowers attached. Small new vines are growing at the bottom with new flowers. Should I take off the dead flowers? Should I trim off the vines that do not look healthy?

Answer: Bougainvilleas have a 6-week growth cycle; they grow, flower, rest, then repeat the process. You can prune back the stems which have flowered and after a rest period the plant will begin growing at the point on the stem where you have cut it back. Yes, I'd prune out any unhealthy looking stems. I'd also prune off the dead flowers by cutting the entire stem down a few inches below the last flower on that stem. If you do this several times a year your plants will remain bushy at the bottom (although they will also continue to grow to the top of the trellis), and they will bloom nearly all year long.

Enjoy your beautiful bougainvilleas!

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