A Guide to Growing Bougainvillea Bonsai
Bougainvillea Bonsai is one of the most popular bonsai plants that you can find. It is a climbing plant that can grow as tall as thirteen feet. It is often grown in hanging baskets and when flowering can be a very showy plant. As a bonsai, it requires quite a lot of care and pruning. You will need to pay particular attention to its lighting, temperature, fertilizing, moisture and it will need to be repotted at regular growth intervals.
This bonsai is an evergreen plant which can be planted outside only if you live in an extremely warm location. The plant can never have temperatures which fall under 45 degrees. Bougainvillea bonsai prefers to be planted in full sunlight but you do have to be careful that the sun does not burn the leaves, particularly if it is right behind a glass window. Outside, keep it in as sunny a spot as you can find.
Like many bonsai plants, this one likes to be more on the dry side than the wet side, so do not over-water. Too much moisture can actually kill the plant. Still, it does need a little water at least every couple days to ensure continued growth. The exception is when it is flowering. At this time, some added water will be in order. As far as fertilizing goes, you will want to feed the Bougainvillea bonsai a lot--every ten to fourteen days is a real necessity for a healthy plant.
When it comes to pruning and sculpting your bonsai plant, you can do it anytime during the year. You may want to put it on a schedule where you prune it once a month or every six weeks. That way the plant won’t get straggly but will be more bushy. It is most common for the Bougainvillea bonsai to flower in the winter and early spring. Some plants do produce flowers almost year-round. The colors can vary enormously with a possibility for white, yellow, pink, red, scarlet, lavender, purple, orange and carmine. You can purchase your plant with either single or double blooms.
You can propagate the Bougainvillea bonsai using the cuttings you take from pruning the plant. Cuttings should be around six inches long. You should prepare the pots in advance with sand and fertilizer. Take off the bottom set of leaves and dip the cuttings in rooting hormones. Water the plant immediately after you gently pack down the soil. One thing to remember when growing this bonsai is that you should not plant it outside before it has developed roots. The cuttings will not do well if planted directly into the outside soil.
If you are going to plant your Bougainvillea outdoors you should dig a hole that is twice as wide as the root ball but exactly as deep. Gently place the plant in the center of the hole. Replace around one half of the soil, water the plant, and then replace the final amount of soil. Do not tap down the soil as the roots on this plant are very, very sensitive. If you want to get some instruction before you have to prune your Bougainvillea, many communities have bonsai clubs where gardeners help out newbies when it comes to learning how to prune properly.
The Bougainvillea bonsai got its name from Philibert Commerson in 1760. He was a botanist from France who first discovered the plant in Brazil. He named it after his friend and ship captain, Louis A. de Bougainville. Bougainville was an explorer from Canada who was also known as a mathematician and lawyer.