Container Tree For Patio - Knowledgebase Question

Long Beach, CA
Question by Curlyhertz
October 14, 2000
I have an area on the patio where I want to put a small tree or two, maybe one in each corner. (5-8 feet tall). The area gets almost complete shade in the winter, although still bright, and full sun in the summer. I was considering a bougenvillia, pruned and shaped like a tree. Is it difficult to keep them controlled? Do they need to be "attached" to something, like a trellis? And would the sun/shade thing be a problem?
I was also considering some bamboo, (golden?), or a hibuscus, pruned like a tree, or an umbrella tree. I'm leaning toward the bougenvillia.
Please advise. Thanks.


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Answer from NGA
October 14, 2000

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Bougainvillea is really a shrubby vine, so you might be disappointed in the appearance (and maintenance nightmare!) if you try to grow it into a tree shape. Some other suggestions for the containers on your patio are camellia, which can be successfully trained into a tree shape, Cornus florida (dogwood), Chionanthus (fringe tree), Crataegus (hawthorn), or one of the smaller Stewartia. All of these choices adapt readily to containers and should be happy in the summertime sunshine the location will provide.

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