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Bougainvillea Rule the Florida Winter

December 3rd, 2012 by Lila Steinhoff

Three Colors of Bougainvillea in My Yard

There is something to be said for Florida during the winter months. It seldom gets below 50 degrees, the skies are blue, the sun is bright, there is always a cool breeze and there are FLOWERS!

One in particular, the bougainvillea, are in full bloom during the winter. I have three colors of bougainvillea in my yard. I planted an orange and a white along my back fence about five years ago. They bloom regularly and are spectacular right now. -Click on any picture to make it larger, then click on the right or left side of the image to move through the gallery.

Orange Bougainvillea

White Bougainvillea

Magenta Bougainvillea

My Treasured Bougainvillea

The magenta bougainvillea on the east side of my house is a huge old plant. We have lived here nearly 40 years, and this bougainvillea was old when we bought the house. I am guessing that it was planted when the house was built in 1937. That would make it almost 80 years old.

I had not pruned this ancient bougainvillea for quite awhile, and it was out of control. It had grown to over 12 feet tall, 15 feet wide and was lying 10 feet out into the yard. A riding mower was too wide to make it between the plant and the house. It was time to cut it back.

A Really Close Cut

This old bougainvillea had been trimmed back over the years, but never to this degree.

Pruned Bougainvillea

My yard guy took  off quite a bit, and I was shocked at first. However, he has been maintaining yards for more than 20 years and knows how to prune so that the plant is healthy and looks good when it grows back.

Pruning Debris

When the job was done, there were three piles of bougainvillea branches measuring about five feet tall, five feet wide and eight feet long.

Thorns One Half Inch Long

That is a whole lot of vegetation to take to the street for collection… especially when all of it is covered with 1/2-inch long thorns that will shred anything but thick leather gloves.

Trunk of Ancient Bougainvillea

The trunk of this bougainvillea is about 12 inches in diameter, and the larger branches are  four to six inches in diameter. The span of the branches from the trunk to the end on the right is nearly eight feet. It is healthy with no rot or places that termites or other pests have invaded it. It is the old lady of my yard.

Eight Months Later

The ‘extreme’ pruning done in April has been successful. This is what ‘the old lady’ looks like in December after eight months of new growth.

8-Month New Growth

Knowledgeable experienced pruning really does make a difference.

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  • Hello there. I just saw your post about your beautiful bougainvillea. When you’re planning to trim your bougainvillea again, and if you will have me, I would be happy to take the cuttings. I am a bonsai hobbyist and bougainvillea cuttings can root. I don’t like seeing branches go to waste.

    I live just north of Tampa. Thank you!