Bougainvillea growth

Uncertain how to proceed. My goal is to fatten up this pretty little thing but not sure how bracts affect the plant. Wondering how much of a role they play to help transport water and nutrients. Not seeing much new growth. Few leaves. Question is; should i remove the bracts? Thanks in advance to all,

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I would leave the bracts since the tree has already used the energy to create them, they will transpire some (they dry and fall off if I let mine dry too much), and I believe they photosynthesize a little. Once the tree starts to push leaves you can start removing them if they are shading the leaves once they harden off a bit. I have found bougies slow to thicken in a pot, but it may just be my dwarf that has only gone from 3 mm to about 15 in 20+ years. I now have a standard one that seems to be more vigorous.

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Awesome, Marty. Makes sense. Thanks alot.

I can second Marty’s response.