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When to Trim a Bougainvillea – The Answer!

When to Trim a Bougainvillea – The Answer!

If you’re looking for a plant to brighten up your garden this summer, then the bougainvillea is a perfect choice. 

A member of the Nyctaginaceae family, it is a perennial climber and can create a vibrant display out of any wall, fence, or trailing. 

The bougainvillea boasts an impressive 2-month bloom cycle, typically flowering from summer to autumn. It is a relatively easy-to-maintain plant due to not needing a lot of water at all.

As the warmer months approach, you might be thinking about trimming back your plant to make room for future growth.

But, when is the right time to trim a bougainvillea? Read ahead to find out.


When to trim a bougainvillea?

The best time to trim a bougainvillea is during the early seasons of the year. You should always ensure to trim your plant after the last frost yet before any new foliage has begun to grow. Early spring or late fall really is your best bet, but if a freeze in your area is rare then you can practically trim any time outside of its growth or blooming cycle.


Early spring

It is very important to wait until any risk of frost is over before trimming your bougainvillea. 

During the cold seasons, your bougainvillea will enter dormancy, in which it preserves all its energy to protect itself from the lower temperatures and less sunlight. 

Dormancy will end when the days become longer and warmer, as this will signal to your plant that they no longer need to protect themselves from the current weather. 

Choosing to trim your bougainvillea during its dormancy can lead to your plant becoming traumatized. This could even result in plant shock, where the stress the plant has endured can result in no new growth for up to 3 months. 

This might mean that you miss out on experiencing your bougainvilleas beautiful bloom cycle.

It is difficult to pinpoint a universal time that the last frost (and therefore the bougainvilleas dormancy) will be over. 

In most places, you can expect the last frost around March, but you can easily check your local weather forecast or the Farmer’s Almanac to get a more accurate timescale. 


Late fall

Another option is to trim your bougainvillea during the late fall. This is more preferred by gardeners who live in climates with very mild winters. 

You should wait until the bougainvillea’s bloom and new growth cycle are over before trimming, as this will prevent any damage to your plant’s future growth.

Many choose to trim during the middle of fall for purely aesthetic reasons, wanting to ensure they don’t become overgrown

The bougainvillea is relatively fast-growing, with some known to grow above 30 feet. 

It is important to keep on top of trimming your plant to prevent its growth from becoming a nuisance. 

If you do choose to trim your plant during the fall, it is suggested to trim your bougainvillea almost completely back. 

This will mean that it will give enough growing room for you not to have to trim it again during spring. 

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