A new Bougainvillea

Redwood Ryan

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Hey everyone,

I picked this up for $20 at the local nursery. It was $70, but it was on the clearance table. They must have felt bad when they accused me of stealing, so they gave it to me $50 off. Anyway, I'm not sure where to go with it right now. It is severely root bound, but now is not the time to deal with that. I have no clue what color the flowers are, so hopefully we will be able to see soon. Any advice where to go? I'm not too keen on the color/pot in general. Here is the tree:

Back?:


Front?:


I'm fine with the size of the trunk. I'm just looking for some good advice. Thanks!
 

digger714

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If you like the size then i would wire it into a cascade style. Then start working some branches. It will look strange with such a thin trunk unless it has some radical movement. A semi cascade or cascade would look cool in a year or so since you can work on them anytime. I thought you could repot it anytime since they are indoor trees. I might be wrong. Im just starting to study up on them. Good luck. I know they have some pretty flowers.
 

bonsaiTOM

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I like your 'bougie' as an upright. I would prune it back hard. Give it good light and humidity through the winter months. Re-pot in spring - good well draining soil. Fertilize heavily in the growing season. I use BOUGAIN (brand) plant food, and a ferlilizer cake that our club makes.

Bougainvillea respond well with back-budding. They tend to get quite leggy when not pruned tightly. But yours has good bones. Just needs to be shaped a bit.

Best of luck with it.
 

Redwood Ryan

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Thank you both!

The tree is about 17" tall, just to let everyone know. It has a trunk of about 3/4". I too like it in the upright style as well. I saw cascade too, but I just don't feel like that would work due to the long, straight trunk. I was told not to do any pruning on it right now, but then I read articles that state you can prune them anytime. Which is correct? Thanks!
 

rockm

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That trunk is not real cascade material. It is too upright and offers no way to induce the dramatic downward movement needed for a good cascade. If you bend it (and don't break it, which is a serious concern), you will get a "rainbow" branch that won't be anywhere near convincing.

If you really want a cascade, prune the trunk back to about two inches and wait for shoots to grow out and prune back in sucessive years.
 

milehigh_7

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I think I am with rock here. Chop it and let it grow.

Remember when and if you chop it that these will root from nearly any size cutting just put into sharp sand.

From the Phoenix Bonsai Society website:
"takes heavy top pruning; cut a branch off just above a thorn to stimulate new bud growth -- sometimes cutting below a thorn will cause dieback down to the next branch; buds back on old wood;"

Also, they love heat and full sun in summer.
 

Redwood Ryan

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I am almost positive it is a Bougie. Here is a shot of a leaf and of the bark:




I really do need to prune back hard on these branches. The branch that is somewhat shown in the pic above has a huge wire scar on it. I will probably get rid of that in the chop. This should be done this spring, correct?
 

rockm

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Honestly, I can't see why you would want to chop the trunk (wire scar or not). It's got a pretty good structure to work with as is.
 

Redwood Ryan

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Honestly, I can't see why you would want to chop the trunk (wire scar or not). It's got a pretty good structure to work with as is.

Thanks Rock. I don't really want to chop the trunk back, but more so the branches since they cannot be wired succcessfully.
 

Redwood Ryan

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It has grown too thick and would be difficult to wire without very large wire.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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It has grown too thick and would be difficult to wire without very large wire.

If the trunk is 3/4" thick, nothing on this tree is too thick to wire. Take it to a local club meeting, nursery, or mentor and have someone with experience wire it with you so you can gain some perspective on what can be done.

Bougies will split a little at the outside of bends and at old wire scars, but wrapping it with a little raffia will allow you to do anything you want with it.
 

Redwood Ryan

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That is true I suppose. Then again, what way would I bend these branches? I wanted to cut them back to get more options once they sprout from the end of the cut branch.
 

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Bougies are quite flexible and bend well if you do it properly, keping thumbs as a brace to the branch an d wrapping with fingers as you bend.

You'd bend several curves in these branches, north and south bends as well as east-west bends. You will be startled at how much shorter that will make the branches look -- as well as more natural (so long as the bends aren't uniform, S-shapes).
 

jk_lewis

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Bougies are quite flexible and bend well if you do it properly, keping thumbs as a brace to the branch an d wrapping with fingers as you bend.

You'd bend several curves in these branches, north and south bends as well as east-west bends. You will be startled at how much shorter that will make the branches look -- as well as more natural (so long as the bends aren't uniform, S-shapes).

If you happen to break one, well, you have a cutting that WILL take.
 

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