How To Prune Dwarf Bougainvillea Plants

5 Steps to Pruning your Dwarf Bougainvillea Plants

How To Prune Dwarf Bougainvilla-butterfly-sucking-nectar-from bougainvella
Butterfly sucking nectar from bougainvillea

The bougainvillea plant is a tropical-subtropical perennial that is native to Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chubut, and Peru, this garden beauty will produce an abundance of flower blooms during the spring and summer months. The dwarf bougainvillea once established is drought and salt tolerant making the bougainvillea a low-maintenance plant that can also be planted in coastal areas.

There are about 1oo varieties of bougainvilleas, what I love about bougainvilleas is they can be grown as small trees, shrubs, or vines. Most varieties of bougainvilleas can reach heights of 20-30 ft however the Helen Johnson dwarf bougainvillea is popular for being trimmed and kept at a height of 3 ft. This versatile hardy shrub is a beauty and will complement a garden design.

Besides ensuring that your bougainvillea is planted in a sunny location where they grow best, the right watering methods though they are drought tolerant will help to encourage healthy growth. Bougainvillea blossom booster will promote flower production but before applying fertilizers read and follow the manufacturer’s directions for the best results. Pruning is a must to keep your Bougainvilleas growing at the desired height along with controlling the outward growth or spread while helping bougainvillea to maintain their natural form.  The right pruning methods, however, are so important for your bougainvillea to thrive which we will be discussing. For more on how this is done continue reading.

How to Prune Dwarf Bougainvillea Plants

Although bougainvilleas can be pruned any time of the year the best time to prune your bougainvillea is in early spring before the plant begins to produce new flower buds. Waiting to prune your bougainvillea once the new buds appear will limit the number of flowers your plant produces, pruning too early however will cause your bougainvillea to fall prey to early frost kill after new growth would have emerged.

1. Dead or Diseased Parts

Before proceeding to prune your bougainvillea take a step back to get a clear picture of what needs to be trimmed and how to trim each branch, next with your hand pruner removed bougainvillea parts that are dead and diseased. Trim the branches back to a node or flush with the main stem.

2. Remove Branches that are large

Large branches that are an obstruction or a safety or security hazard should be removed, this action will also help your bougainvillea to maintain its natural form.

3. Maintaining your Bougainvillea

During the bougainvillea’s growing season keep the plant nicely trimmed with a pruning shear, this will help your bougainvillea not only to maintain its natural form but will help to control the outgrowth as well as the upgrowth. Look for diseased or dead wood at this time and trim also, major cutting where the larger branches are, is saved for early spring to avoid plant damage. However, when trimming your bougainvillea during the growing season trim the tips of the branches just after the last node, this action will encourage a new branch to form there. A node looks like a bump or small swelling on the branches.

4. Deadheading Spent Flowers

Faded or dead flowers can be removed by simply pinching them with your fingers, this will not only keep your bougainvillea looking healthy and beautiful but pinching will also encourage new growth and new blooms.

5 . Cutting Back New Growth

Midway through the blooming cycle cut back new growth, this move will encourage lots of new blooms, the new growth should be cut back to half at the midpoint of the blooming season. The cuts should be made just above the nodes so new branching can emerge. Waiting too late in the season to prune will not encourage growth, the old growth should be pruned in early spring.

Wildlife that Bougainvilleas will Attract

  • Hummingbirds
  • Bees
  • Moths
  • Rabbits
  • Deers

Bonus Just for You

1. Before pruning your bougainvillea ensure you are wearing thick garden gloves and long sleeves to avoid receiving painful sticks from thrones. A hand pruner that’s sharp and sterilized will not only make your pruning job easy but will encourage healthy growth because a pruner that was used on a plant that’s sickly and then used on a healthy plant will spread disease so insure your hand pruner is sterilized.

2. If a part of your bougainvillea is diseased and you prune that part before proceeding further wipe the hand pruner blade with a clean piece of cloth or rag that was dipped in rubbing alcohol to discourage the spread of disease. The thick garden gloves that you’re wearing will also protect your hands from being cut or injured as the blade is being wiped.

Note: For bougainvilleas that are  5 0r more feet in size, because bougainvilleas can be grown as a vine, they can be seen often growing along fences, carports, beams, trellis, etc.., if you’re grooming your bougainvilleas in this manner and training them in the desired direction then as you make the cut warp the new shoots around the structure. The shoots will attach to and climb up the direction or take shape of that structure.

Additional Infromation on Bougainvillea Plants

The final word on how to prune dwarf  bougainvillea plants

Whether your growing a dwarf bougainvillea or other varieties following this guide will give you the help that you need as you seek to keep your bougainvillea growing healthy and vibrant. I have worked with bougainvilleas on many garden projects and have seen firsthand what can happen when they are properly maintained. These low-maintenance plants are just simply beautiful with their multi-colored flower blooms.


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About the author

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Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.