Bougainvilleas are ever-popular for their bright and vibrant colors. These flowers originate from South America, of which there are approximately 14 different varieties.
They are very hardy and drought-proof plants, and they are a part of the 4 O’Clock Plant family which also share these qualities.
Bougainvillea has a high level of versatility and can be grown in pots, hanging baskets, as a bonsai, and much more.
One of the most popular ways to grow a bougainvillea is on a wall, as its deeply saturated colorings make for the perfect summer display.
So, you’re wondering how to grow bougainvillea on a wall? Continue reading this article below to learn all about it.
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How to grow bougainvillea on a wall?
Bougainvilleas are fairly hardy plants, meaning they can be trained quite easily to grow onto a wall. Select a location that has lots of direct sunlight, and place a trellis or wire guide along the wall in your desired shape. Carefully pull each stem and slide it under your guide. As your bougainvillea begins to grow, tie the heavier branches to your trellis with twist ties. This will help your plant start to slowly take your desired shape. Prune away any undesired stems to prevent the risk of your bougainvillea overgrowing.
Methods for growing a bougainvillea on a wall
Bougainvilleas are low maintenance and quick-growing plants. It will easily attach to anything with open holes, such as a chainlink fence.
However, unlike other trailing plants (i.e. ivy) the bougainvillea has no way of gripping to a purely solid wall.
Purchasing wire guides or a trellis is the easiest and most popular option for training your bougainvillea. These can be purchased from most garden centers or home design stores.
Some more modern varieties of trellis can be easily attached to a wall with no need for nails or glue.
However, most require a small amount of assembly to fix them to a wall with masonry nails often being supplied.
As the plant begins to grow, start to fasten its stems to your wall.
Carefully pull each stem of the bougainvillea towards your trellis or wire mesh and slide it underneath. This needs to be done very gently, as stems from newer growth are at risk of snapping.
Your trellis or guide might look quite bare to start with, but don’t worry!
Bougainvillea grows lots of green foliage and blossom, especially in the summer months. In most cases, it will eventually cover the entire guide so that it can barely even be seen.
As your bougainvillea starts to mature, continue to weave your stems in and out of your guides. Use twist ties to guide them further upwards, but be sure to check the ties every season just in case the stems are beginning to outgrow them.
If this is the case, all you need to do loosen them and retie them again.
Where best to grow bougainvillea
Above anything, you need to choose the perfect wall for your bougainvillea to thrive.
Bougainvillea needs lots of direct sunlight for at least 6 hours a day. Choose wisely in your location, as a shady spot with little sunlight will mean that your plant will not grow at all and could even completely die.
Top tip – make sure that your chosen fence is strong enough to hold your bougainvillea. They can grow quite heavy over time, and the branches (or trunks in some variety cases) can grow very large.
Once you have chosen a suitable spot for your bougainvillea, you can begin to prepare it for planting.
If you are planting straight into the ground, be sure to leave a gap of between 6 to 10 inches between your plant and your chosen wall.
Leaving too little space between your bougainvillea and the wall will cause a lack of oxygen in your plant, which can lead to root and growth damage.
If you are alternatively going to place the bougainvillea into a pot, it needs to be at least a gallon in size with drainage holes in the bottom.
Be sure to plant the bougainvillea into a high-draining soil mixture. After planting, wait for the soil to dry almost completely before you start watering the bougainvillea.
The best time to wall-train your bougainvillea
It is best to train your bougainvillea during the spring when the plant is no longer dormant but is yet to bud and bloom.
Beginning to train it during the winter could send your plant into shock, whilst doing the same in the summer could affect its blooming cycle and damage any flowers currently in bloom.
What soil is best for bougainvilleas to grow in
Bougainvilleas need soil that has high draining qualities.
Compost that has good drainage can be purchased at most garden centers and nurseries, but you can alternatively use soil mixed with horticultural sand and grit to get the desired result.
If you use a heavy or slow-draining soil mix, your bougainvillea will not thrive and you won’t be able to grow your plant across your desired wall.
Safety tips and precautions when wall-training bougainvillea
Whenever you are handling bougainvillea, be sure to wear appropriate protective clothing.
Most varieties grow sharp thorns on their stems and branches, so it is advised to wear gloves and cover your arms with long sleeves.
Learn how to trim a bougainvillea next.
Frequently Asked Questions about Growing a Bougainvillea on a Wall
How much water does a trailing bougainvillea need?
Bougainvilleas are drought-resistant plants, so they need to be watered very infrequently. It is recommended to water them once a fortnight, but only if the soil has become dry.
How long does it take a bougainvillea to grow?
It can take between 3-5 years for a bougainvillea to reach its full growth. If growing the plant from seed, it can take up to a year for your plant to start to fully form.
Should I prune my bougainvillea?
Yes, if needed you can prune your bougainvillea. Be sure to only prune it outside of its growth and blooming seasons, but not during dormancy. Pruning in late fall or late early spring is recommended.
Daniel has been a plant enthusiast for over 20 years. He owns hundreds of houseplants and prepares for the chili growing seasons yearly with great anticipation. His favorite plants are plant species in the Araceae family, such as Monstera, Philodendron, and Anthurium. He also loves gardening and is growing hot peppers, tomatoes, and many more vegetables.