Q: Last year I planted two beautiful bougainvillaeas in my garden. I cut them back before the first frost, hoping they would return. I have yet to see any regrowth though they were well covered with pine straw. Do you think I should just forget about them and plant some more this spring?
A: Unfortunately, bougainvillea is not winter- hardy outdoors in Atlanta. It grows rapidly and provides eye-catching color during the summer but freezing temperatures spell its doom. If you plant replacements, cut the stems back to twelve inches long in September, before the first cold snap. Lift each plant and put it in a large pot. Keep the bougainvillea in front of the sunniest window you have, don’t water it unless the soil is dry and you’ll probably succeed in keeping it alive until the next spring.