How to Prune Bougainvillea for Optimal Growth


Follow these tips on how to prune bougainvillea for optimal growth and you will have a beautiful, healthy plant in no time!

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Bougainvillea is a flowering machine. All it takes is a little pruning to encourage even more blossoms. The key to pruning bougainvillea is to be cautious at first. It’s easier to remove too little than too much. You can always go back and prune more if needed.

There are two types of bougainvillea: those with erect or drooping stems, and those with vining stems. The best time to prune is immediately after flowering. Although you can prune at other times, you may sacrifice some blooms.

The Basics of Bougainvillea Pruning

Bougainvillea is a flowering plant that is typically seen in shades of pink, orange, purple, and red. The bracts of the plant are what give it its vibrant colors. This plant is a popular choice for gardens in warm climates. Bougainvillea can be pruned to encourage growth and to shape it into the desired form.


The best time for bougainvillea pruning is late winter or early spring, before new growth begins. Pruning at this time will encourage the plant to produce more flowers and also help to control its size and shape. You can also prune in summer if necessary, but be aware that this may affect the plant’s flowering.


Start by gathering the tools you’ll need to prune your bougainvillea. You’ll need a pair of pruning shears, a small hand pruner, and a large saw. If you’re working with a small plant, you may be able to get away with just using the pruning shears.

Bougainvilleas can be aggressive growers, so it’s important to have sharp tools on hand to make clean cuts. dull tools can cause tearing and damage the plant.

The Three Types of Bougainvillea Pruning

Pruning is a vital part of maintaining a healthy bougainvillea. It allows you to control the plant’s shape, remove any dead or diseased parts, and encourage new growth. There are three main types of bougainvillea pruning: light pruning, moderate pruning, and heavy pruning.

Type 1: Heading Back

Heading back is the most common type of pruning for bougainvillea, and it’s also the most important. This type of pruning involves trimming back the long, leggy stems to encourage the plant to produce new growth. By encouraging new growth, you’ll also encourage the plant to produce more flowers.

You can heading back your bougainvillea at any time of year, but the best time to do it is in late winter or early spring before the plant starts to produce new growth. You should aim to remove about one-third of the length of the longest stems.

Type 2: Tip pruning

As the name suggests, tip pruning is all about removing the tips of the branches. This type of pruning is often done to encourage bushier growth, as it forces the plant to produce new side shoots. It’s a good idea to tip prune after the plant has flowered, as this will encourage more flowers for the following season. To tip prune, simply use sharp gardening shears to snip off the tips of the branches.

Type 3: Rejuvenation pruning

Type 3: Rejuvenation pruning is a bit more aggressive than the first two types, and is used when the plant has become too large or leggy, or has suffered from neglect. To rejuvenate a bougainvillea, you’ll need to cut back all of the stems to about 12 inches (30 cm) from the ground. This will stimulate new growth, but will also set the plant back a bit, so it’s best to do this in early spring before the plant begins to put out new growth.


In conclusion, the best time to prune your bougainvillea is in late winter or early spring, before new growth begins. Pruning at this time will promote optimal growth and flowering. Be sure to use sharp, clean pruning shears and cut just above a node (where the leaf meets the stem). You can prune away up to one-third of the plant without damaging it.

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