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Instant summer superstars: Bougainvilleas.

Igniting gardens with flamboyant colors, bougainvilleas spread recklessly over fences and trellises throughout the West. But many gardeners are now taming them as potted plants. Pictured here are four ways to show off bougainvillea in containers: as a festive wreath, in hanging baskets, as a focal point outdoors, and in clusters atop garden walls. Bougainvillea wreaths These little plants in 6-inch pots are trained to grow around 10-inch-diameter wire hoops. Well-stocked nurseries sell them for $7 to $12. You can also make your own wreath by buying a young vining bougainvillea with supple stems (for suggested varieties, see list below right). Untwist the handle of a wire coat hanger, and bend the hanger in half to form a sturdy, U-shaped trellis bring loose ends nearly together and slip them into the soil near the stem. Wrap and tie stems up the two sides. For the longest bloom (two to three weeks), choose plants whose tiny white flowers (inside the colorful bracts) have not yet opened or are just opening. Place the plant by a sunny window. Most purchased bougainvillea wreaths quickly outgrow their small pots. After bloom, carefully unravel them from the circular hoops. Combine in containers with other unthirsty flowers (pictured above right) or transplant them into larger containers (at least 14 inches in diameter) in gritty soil. Train as a potted shrub or small tree by staking one of the thicker branches and periodically pruning rambling shoots back to a desired shape. In colder climates, move pots indoors in earI fall to avoid possible frost damage. Bougainvilleas for containers Choose suitable varieties from the list at right. Large, straight-sided pots are best for permanent displays. Hanging baskets make showy seasonal displays, but they dry out quickly, which can be a problem if water is scarce. When transplanting bougainvillea, handle the rootball very carefully, as disturbing it can fatally damage the roots. Water to establish, then keep it on the dry side. Feed once in the spring with a complete fertilizer such as 10-10-10. 11
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Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes related article on bougainvilleas
Publication:Sunset
Date:Jul 1, 1991
Words:336
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