5 Easy Steps To Train Your Bougainvillea

For those of you that don’t know, Bougainvillea are stunningly beautiful climbing plants. They are known for their beautiful flowers and creeping abilities.

5 Easy Steps To Train Your Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea is native to South America, their name literally means paper flower and when you see one of these plants you can see why.

If you leave Bougainvillea to grow as it would naturally, you will find that it will grow to about one meter tall while it clings to various objects around it. These drought-resistant plants may be stunning, but they can get a little unruly.

Which is why it is a good idea to train your Bougainvillea. But how do you train a Bougainvillea? Well, there are five easy steps you need to follow in order to do this, and that is what we are going to go over in this article. So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!

What Bougainvillea Varieties Are There?

Bougainvillea will grow between three and thirty-nine feet tall. How tall they grow is entirely dependent on what variety it is. There are a surprising number of Bougainvillea varieties. Some have thorns, while others are thornless. Some grow bigger and others grow smaller.

There are several dwarf Bougainvillea varieties. These plants are perfect for those of you that do not have a lot of space in your garden. Some of them include the following:

  • Helen Johnson
  • Sunvillea Rose
  • Sunvillea Cream
  • Pink Pixie

There are also semi-dwarf Bougainvillea. If your garden is medium-sized, semi-dwarf Bougainvillea will suit your needs. We have listed a few of the main Bougainvillea varieties in this category below:

  • Imperial Delight
  • Miss Alice

Giant Bougainvillea is also quite common, and there are a few varieties. If you have a large scratch of land to space, you can use giant Bougainvillea to create a hedge, as these plants grow quite big. Some of which we have listed below:

  • Barbara Karst
  • Orange King
  • James Walker

Each of these gorgeous plants is different and stunning in its own way. As such, you need to take special care when you are choosing a plant to go with.

How To Choose The Right Bougainvillea For You?

Before you can start growing or even training your below: Bougainvillea plant, you need to take special care to get the right variety. One of the first things you need to think about is how much room you have.

Bougainvillea of the dwarf variety will be a good pick if you have a smaller garden. However, it is not always as clear-cut as that. There are not a lot of guidelines that can help you determine which size category your plant falls into.

As such, you may find that the plant you buy is not correctly labeled. In essence, you might think that you are buying a giant Bougainvillea, but you are really buying a dwarf. Most varieties of Bougainvillea are extremely hardy plants.

They are fairly drought resistant. In fact, these plants fall somewhere between the nine and eleven hardiness zones. However, this is not always true for all Bougainvillea plant varieties.

So, if you are not sure what kind of Bougainvillea is going to be best for the place you live, you might need to talk to a professional.

Most plant nurseries will have an attendant that will know about the plants. As such, we recommend talking to them to get the right Bougainvillea variety for your home and garden.

Step-By-Step – How To Train Your Bougainvillea

5 Easy Steps To Train Your Bougainvillea

In this section, we are going to go over the five steps you need to follow to train your bougainvillea. Don’t be intimidated! It is actually quite a simple process and one that most gardeners should be able to do with ease.

Bougainvillea are the kind of plants that need support while they are growing. Usually, they will latch onto something and creep up on it. These are rather prickly, the thorns can make it difficult to handle Bougainvillea plants.

But this does not make it any harder to train them. If you want your plant to have a good shape and grow full branches in a short period of time, training your Bougainvillea is a good idea. Your first step is to figure out what shape your Bougainvillea needs to be.

You will then need to clear a spot for your plant to grow. The space should be about one foot away from anything, this is so that your Bougainvillea gets all the sunlight and the room it needs to grow.

The root balls of your Bougainvillea need to be level with the ground. So, take care while you are preparing the hole. When you are planting your Bougainvillea, you can do so in a container or directly into the ground.

Regardless of which option you go with, it is essential that you keep the plant level and upright. This is so that the roots are not disrupted.

Below are five steps that you will need to carefully follow if you want to train your Bougainvillea plant. Take care to follow each one properly, or your plant might not take the shape you would prefer.

Step 1 – Use Stakes And Wire To Support Your Bougainvillea

Your Bougainvillea needs to be planted by the time that you get to this step. It can be in the ground or in a pot, depending on what you prefer. At this point, your plant should be ready to be trained.

To shape your Bougainvillea, essentially, means that you are shaping the plant and teaching it to grow in a particular way. So, step one is to place two stakes on both sides of the plant.

These stakes should be about one foot away from each other so that your Bougainvillea has all the space it needs for the roots and trunk to grow as it should.

Step 2 – Use Twine To Tie Your Bougainvillea

With your stakes in place, your next job is to use twine or nylon wire to secure the stems of your Bougainvillea in place. While you are tying the stems, it is essential that you don’t tie them too tight. 

Doing this will cause your plant to become damaged. Once you have securely but gently secure your Bougainvillea, you can then cut off parts of the plant that you don’t want. 

Attach your twine or wire to nails or hooks that are secured to the wall. Otherwise, you can directly attach your twine to a trellis. Essentially, you need to secure the branches without damaging them.

Step 3 –Train Your Bougainvillea While It Grows

As time goes on, your tied bougainvillea will grow. As this happens, you need to continue the training process. This might mean that you will be directing the growth path of new vines.

This will help you to create more support for the plant and create the desired shape. As you continue training your plant, this process should also help to create a more sturdy Bougainvillea.

We recommend using garden twine for this process as it is more flexible, and it is biodegradable. If you have elected to use wire, you will need to take care not to tighten the knot, as doing so will damage your Bougainvillea vines.

Step 4 – Start Trimming And Pinching Your Bougainvillea Plant

During the training process of your Bougainvillea, you will need to take the time to thin out your plant. You can do this by lightly trimming or tip-pinching it so that it does not lose its shape.

When it is growing season, you can trim your Bougainvillea. Take care not to do it too often. If you are tip-pinching, you should take off between one and six inches of the new growth.

When you do this, you will encourage the plant to grow more. Aside from that, this trimming process will help keep your Bougainvillea a manageable size.

Step 5 – Every Two Years, You Should Trim Your Bougainvillea

Your Bougainvillea will continue to grow and develop into the perfect shape. But every two years, you need to take the time to prune your Bougainvillea. You can do this every year if your plant grows quicker.

You can prune your Bougainvillea hard, this means that you can take off about half of a branch when you are pruning. Hard pruning is a great way to keep your plant neat and trim. It is also a good way to ensure that your Bougainvillea develops more flowers.

Final Thoughts

We hope that you have enjoyed reading this article and learning how to easily trim your Bougainvillea in five easy steps. It is so much easier to do this than you might think.

As long as you are careful and meticulous with each of these steps, you should be able to create a beautifully shaped Bougainvillea plant. There are a lot of fun and interesting shapes you can train your Bougainvillea to grow in.

You can even make them look like a tree if you are careful with your training. But it is up to you to decide how your Bougainvillea is going to be shaped.

Diane Peirce
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