How to Prune a Bougainvillea

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Follow these tips on how to prune a bougainvillea and you’ll have a healthy, blooming plant in no time!

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Bougainvillea are flowering machines that bloom almost continuously throughout the year in tropical and subtropical climates. Although they are easy to grow and relatively carefree, they do require occasional pruning to maintain their compact growth habit and prevent them from becoming leggy and scraggly.

The best time to prune your bougainvillea is immediately after it has finished blooming. With their vibrant flowers in shades of pink, purple, red or white, bougainvilleas add a splash of color to any garden or patio. But if left unpruned, they can become overgrown and untidy.

What You’ll Need

You’ll need a sharp pair of pruning shears, and it’s helpful to have a ladder or step stool on hand so that you can reach the higher branches. You’ll also need to know what time of year to prune your bougainvillea. In general, it’s best to prune in late winter or early spring, before new growth begins.


Start by pruning away any dead, diseased or damaged stems. Next, remove any thin, leggy growth to encourage the plant to produce new, healthy growth. Bougainvillea bloom on new growth, so the more you prune, the more flowers you’ll get!

If your bougainvillea is growing in a pot, it will need annual pruning to keep it compact and encourage flowering. Simply cut back the main stems by a third. For plants growing in the ground, wait until after flowering to give them a good prune. Cut back the main stems by a third or half, depending on how big you want the plant to be.


There are many ways to prune a bougainvillea, and the best method for you will depend on the plant’s size, shape, and growth habit. With a little patience and some practice, you can produce a beautiful plant that will bloom heavily and add color to your landscape for many years to come.

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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