| older/larger landscape specimens transplant best mid-summer [Do you have a landscape plant with a two or more inch diameter trunk growing in the yard that you don’t want any longer? Any time between the middle of June and the middle of August : Step 1. cut back branches and trunk to 18″ to 24″ high, saving only the largest or best positioned branches, everything else above ground goes (You can start shaping/trimming a couple of days in advance, but that’s not necessary. Watch out for those thorns! No harm if you want to leave only a couple of small green leafy branches to ease your mind that the tree’s still alive…) ; Step 2. dig the plant up along with as many lateral roots as possible that extend out only about six inches or so from around the trunk base, being sure to keep any good-looking surface roots (You’ll probably have a few thick diagonal and vertical below-surface roots to cut — trim them all the way back to the stump. And don’t worry if you end up with less roots than you do when transplanting other types of trees. Be sure you have plenty of water with you: just a little for the plant roots, but most of it for you — the air temperature while you’re doing this excavating could easily be over 100Â°F! Did we forget to mention that you should start working before mid-morning or after dinner?) ; Step 3. plant the “bougie” in a large container — cut-down 55-gallon drum, mortar mixing box, heavy plastic dish tub large enough for this particular specimen, etc. — filled with chicken grit or well draining large grained sandy soil mix, and keep sufficiently watered but not waterlogged ; Step 4. the plant should be pushing out lots of new growth buds by the end of one month ; Step 5. the next mid-June, after giving it its first shaping trim, transplant your tree into its first large training pot. Your dug plant’s success is all but guaranteed. (Reviewed by Bill Mooney and Max Miller, 01/29/2000) ] ; takes heavy top pruning; cut a branch off just above a thorn to stimulate new bud growth — sometimes cutting below a thorn will cause dieback down to the next branch; buds back on old wood; don’t bare-root young plants; give less water before flowering, more during flowering, little throughout the winter; give lots of light; known to produce “flowers” (actually modified colored showy bracts surrounding a trio of small white or yellow-tipped trumpet-like flowers) up to three separate times a year, flowers easily; if displaying a specimen in full bloom it is possible to remove most of the green leaves to heighten the visual effect of the flowers; possible to withhold watering on established plants until the largest green leaves just start to wilt from dehydration, those leaves should then rehydrate without harm or loss; likes a lot of water in good draining soil; cut largest leaves in half throughout the summer to stimulate bud growth for winter flowers; don’t cut branches from about middle of October until January or February, then prune drastically; use 0-10-10 fertilizer once a month from September until summer to encourage blooming; in summer, feed with high Nitrogen fertilizer to get a lot of growth of leaf pads (Gro-Power 12-8-8 slow release tablet can be used); recommended soil mix is 60% granite or chicken grit and 40% potting mix; transplant in middle of summer; although B. glabra‘s spines are thinner and B. spectabilis leaves’ underside are more hairy (almost velvety), pure strains are very rare as the cultivars readily cross-pollinate. [Nyctaginaceae; Caryophyllales] SEE ALSO BCI Plant Sheet.