The Q&A Archives: How to Train Bougainvillea?

Question: We just bought two bougainvillea plants and need to know if we just manually intertwine the branches or is there a method to training this plant? We are in the Mojave desert.

Answer: You didn't say whether the plants are in containers or the ground, or where they will be growing. Bougainvilleas naturally grow long, thick branches 10-15 feet long, so they perform best, and I think look best with the most color, if they are grown where they have space to just let those branches sprawl and drape naturally. If branches must be cut back, then the color is lost. However, if they must be contained, on a patio, for example, I'd recommend tying them back to sturdy trellising or wall supports. Because the branches grow so thick, heavy and have thorns, I wouldn't recommend trying to intertwine them. Good luck!

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