Bougainvillea in bud

A customer bought this plant in May, then let it get hit by some overnight cold and bam, returned. When I brought it home it looked absolutely terrible! few (if any) leaves, most that were on the plant were damaged from the cold. I pruned it back hard to a few inches (It’s been grown as a short standard, so that’s a few inches from where it starts branching) where I could see healthy buds. I’ve been keeping it watered and even fertilizing it a little bit since then and I will finally be rewarded.

Bougainvillea in bud

The colour looks nice enough so far but it is still a little ways off from being fully open.

Unfortunately this year I was poorly prepared and did not train the branches at all so it has grown far outward. If I winter this plant (I become afraid when I think about all the plants that will have to come inside this winter! I am turning more and more to tender perennials that will be living over the winter in my garage. As far as I’m aware though that will be too cold for the Bougainvillea so the only likely option will be to prune it back to a stick and Espalier the new growth that starts over the winter (or prune it over and over again).

If I do this and all goes well I will grow it up against the wall alongside my Clematis. Poor thing bloomed itself out in early summer and has only been giving the odd flower since. I think the companionship of a Bougainvillea to dress up that wall for the rest of the summer would be a welcome addition. The colours look like they’ll go nicely as well.

And taking up less space by growing vertically will be a definite improvement over this years sprawling mess. The silly looking trunk will be hidden as well (By a large Bay tree (shrub), while giving it enough height to get up to my trellis right from the start. And as they say, when you have limited space, go up.


Don’t you sometimes wish you could start over? Brand new garden with no plants, nothing you need to hold onto, just a blank slate? I’m feeling a little bit like that right now. A lot of my normally well behaved plants are getting a little bit floppy and tired looking, and I’m getting tired of looking at them. And while I’m at it I could stand being somewhere other than zone 5, or maybe if I had some more space (I swear I really have nothing against mass plantings and planting in 3s/5s/+…), and maybe if my neighbours weren’t all growing invasive plants then maybe everything would be ok. And now back to trying to re-claim some of my garden from the Violas so I can get some plants I don’t really have room for in the ground… *sigh*


About Andrew

Plant lover living in Toronto, Canada where I grow a wide range of plants in a very small space.
This entry was posted in Tropical and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Bougainvillea in bud

  1. …."Don't you sometimes wish you could start over? Brand new garden with no plants, nothing you need to hold onto, just a blank slate?"….YES! There are times I couldn't imagine leaving any of my plants behind and times that I just want to run and start over.

  2. Andrew says:

    I know that feeling of not leaving anyone behind too for sure, and I've definitely got a few plants I couldn't ever give up, even if I were to "start over" (Both of my Cimicifugas, my Red Rose, My Hall's Honeysuckle, my Toadlily and so on – it's actually a fairly short list), but I'm finding a lot of the other plants are just not doing very much for me anymore (Leucanthemum 'Becky,' Rudbeckia hirta "Half & Half" (Half 'Prairie Sun' and half reverted to species), Panicum virgatum 'Heavy Metal'…) and wouldn't be missed if they weren't here anymore.That said after pruning and deadheading and staking some of the less well behaved plants my opinion of the whole thing has changed again. There are still some things I'd like to change but it won't kill me if that doesn't happen. I've got a decent list of things to keep in mind for next spring though, things to divide, pinch back (twice), replace, remove… Maybe with enough small changes it'll feel new enough again.

  3. Megan says:

    Bougainvillea in Toronto! That's crazy talk 🙂 I'm interested to see how it goes. It would be really hard for me to go back to zone 5.

  4. Andrew says:

    Not the first thing you'd think of for sure, but a nice touch if it all works well. A nice tropical touch is always welcome here!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s