bougainvillea needs

jimj.

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I have just ordered a new bougaivillea plant that I want to train as bonsai. The questions I have are first of all what kind of soil best suits this plant? The second thing what is a good sealer for the branches I will be trimming and what is the best time of year to prune to get the shape I want? I have two satsukis that I am going to repot can I use the same type of soil for all three plants?
 
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I have just ordered a new bougaivillea plant that I want to train as bonsai. The questions I have are first of all what kind of soil best suits this plant? The second thing what is a good sealer for the branches I will be trimming and what is the best time of year to prune to get the shape I want? I have two satsukis that I am going to repot can I use the same type of soil for all three plants?
I have a large bougie in a mix of crushed lava and firbark. A lot depends on where you live, how often you'll need to water, feeding practices, is it living in-doors or out... It's more about the climate/enviornment the tree is living in, than any notion of a particular mix.

I don't use sealer on wounds personally... but that's a choice you have to make for yourself.

Pruning is generally done during growth seasons, as when the tree is dormant you won't get any response from it. But that doesn't mean you can't get some shape into the tree. If the bougie is going to be indoors, you can prune it and wire it even now. But you won't get vigorous growth like you will in the summer months when the tree is enjoying being outdoors. (I'm making certain assumptions that you don't live in a tropical enviornment, because if you did... you'd already know bougies are weeds and considered pests in many tropical enviorns, because of their rapid growth.)

A great many people will tell you that Satsuki's should be planted in kanuma, which is a dried dirt product from Japan which has acidic characteristics azaleas like. I don't plant in kanuma... I have mine in calidama and firbark... which I find most things love to be in. But I also feed them miracid... so that makes up for it.


Enjoy your trees...

Victrinia
 

king kong

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There are two different development speeds once you get your soil happy (well drained) for your area. Container grown is slow and good for detail work. I let them root into the ground and get much quicker results for growing the trunk and branches. I use a pine sap product for a sealer that works well to hold the pithy wood longer while healing.
 

jimj.

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I thank you both for your advice. I think I will just leave it alone until spring gets here and then put it in the ground with some good soil around it. It means alot to me when someone takes time to give advice to me.
 

jimj.

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I just received my new plant and it is not any bigger than a pencil so I am kind of dissapointed with what I got thats what I get from ordering from a company I never dealt with before oh well if it lives it will make a nice tree someday maybe my daughters first bonsai project.
 

Bonsai Nut

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We have them growing wild here in Southern California, and they may have very different needs than in the Southeast (with its humidity) but here are a few thoughts:

1) They need well-drained soil or they will succumb to root rot. In general I would describe their roots as "weak"; even on quite large bushes the roots are like mats instead of having strong branching structure.
2) They take a while to get established. They take a year or two to settle in before you start to see strong growth.
3) Once established they can grow FAST. I can get 10 - 12' of growth off some of my large bushes if I don't trim them. I just trimmed a couple bushes in my back yard and cut leaders that were easily 1" thick that weren't there a year ago.
4) Once established they need very little water. In fact, they can almost survive in Southern California with no supplemental watering at all. Once a month and they are fine.
5) They need 100% full sun or they won't bloom at all. You can have a well-established bush that gets shaded by a tree and it will stop blooming. Trim back the tree and the bush will bloom again.
6) They bloom on new growth. Cut back hard, let bloom, and then cut back hard again. I have two 8' tall bushes in front of my house that are trimmed so close they resemble topiary. They get a little shaggy while blooming, but if you don't trim after the bloom they get completely overgrown.

Personally, I think they are beautiful landscape plants, but extremely problematic as bonsai. To get them to bloom you need to let the growth run so the tree always looks shaggy. Also, you have to constantly cut back into old wood to get new growth to allow the tree to bloom again. That, and they have nasty thorns :)
 

onlyrey

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Jimj,

How your bougaivillea grows and its need surely depends on where you live. Here in steamy humid and warm Florida, we get growth probably 11.9 months of the year. My bougaivilleas live very happy, so much that I have to keep shortening their branches. I have not yet let mine fully flower because I want more ramification, so I keep on top of it. My guess is that my bougaivillea enjoy strong growth partially because I don't let them flower that much, so the energy is saved for growing. How is your local weather? Whereabouts in the world do you live?
 

jimj.

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I live in south central ky.I have just orderd some double screened soil to place the plant in.Thank you for your response.
 

king kong

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Option number 2..Florida grow-out

Ship it to me, tell us what size you would like in trunk caliper Jim, we will grow it out and then we will ship it back unless it turns out really good....then we will keep it! Just kidding.
 

jimj.

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Its good to know someone would be willing to grow out the tree for me I dont think you would want it though its so little it might make a decent bonsai in 10 years or so.
 
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