Location For Planting Bougainvillea - Knowledgebase Question

San Diego, CA
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Question by davidbanthon
June 30, 2001
I bought a Cherry Blossom Bougainvillea and wanted to plant it to grow in front of my house growing up on the front of the house. My neighbors have advised against this saying it would grow into the house and cause damage to the roof and house. Should I plant away from the house or build a lattice on which it could climb away from the house? Where is the the best location to plant this beautiful plant?

Answer from NGA
June 30, 2001
Bougainvillea is a vining plant and will need some kind of support (wires or trellis) to twine around and keep it upright. Some vining plants, such as ivy, produce little suction cup "peds" enabling it to attach itself to a vertical surface. Not so with bougainvillea. Without a support, it will just grow over itself and develop into a mound. You'll want to install a trellis about 3' away from the side of your house to promote good air circulation around your bougainvillea and to provide enough room for you to squeeze behind to prune the plant (and to paint the house when the time comes). Provide full sunshine for your plant and rich, moist soil. Be careful when planting (bougainvillea resent having their roots disturbed). I've had good results by cutting the container away from the plant rather than pulling the plant out of the container. You might also consider cutting away the bottom of the container, placing the plant in the prepared planting hole, and then slowly pulling the container up over the top of the plant to remove it, all the while filling in the hole. As long as the soil remains around the roots during the process the roots won't know they've been transplanted. (How's that for pulling a fast one?)

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