Monday, June 3, 2013

Favorite Desert Color Works In Pots Too

Posted By on Mon, Jun 3, 2013 at 11:26 AM

Desert Potted bougainvillea
  • Marylee, Potted Desert Gardener
  • Desert Potted bougainvillea

We see Bougainvillea all over our desert landscapes. With a larger number of patio homes, these large plants are often too unwieldy to support in the patio landscape. Desert Dwellers often ask about planting Bougainvillea in pots so they can enjoy them year round in the hotter climates. However, Bougainvillea can be a little particular when planted so follow these tips to increase your chances of success!

1. Choose the right sized container. You need one at least 22” in height and diameter and one that is heavy with a wide bottom to reduce the risk of tipping. Be sure there are drainage holes in the pot.

2. Give bougainvillea plants well-drained soil. Bougainvillia does not require high quality soils. Potting soil is to rich for these plants. Use a garden soil that is more coarse with organic material and even gravely.

3. Do not disturb the roots when removing from the nursery can. Handle carefully, cutting the can away from the root ball rather than pulling the plant from the can.

4. Position the bougainvillea plant in the best place. Bougainvillea is a sun-lover and it will grow best in a full sun position, in the open, facing due North (in southern hemisphere) and due north (northern hemisphere). Heat is not an issue for bougainvillea.

5. Water sparingly. Bougainvillea plants weaken with too much watering, ending up with all leaf growth in place of flowers

6. Prune. Bougainvillea plants are prolific growers and need good pruning to force blooming:

a. Wait for the first colorful bracts to form and fall off in spring
b. Once they fall, prune excess growth
c. Fertilize with a high phosphate fertilizer. This will cause new bloom on the shorter flowering spurs
d. Repeat during the flowering season as needed.

Marylee is the Desert’s Potted Garden Expert. Email her with comments and questions at

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