Bougainvillea is a colorful tropical vine native to Brazil. The blooms of this plant are actually small white flowers surrounded by three brilliantly colored bracts. Available shades include yellow, orange, pink, apricot and deep red. Bougainvillea can be allowed to climb freely, trained to grow as a shrub or planted in a hanging basket. When left unchecked, this vine can reach heights of 40 to 50 feet.
Select a 5 to 10 gallon planting container or a 12-inch hanging basket. Make sure that the container has sufficient drainage, as these plants will not do well in soil that remains too moist.
Fill the chosen container three-fourths of the way with good quality potting soil. Plant the bougainvillea at the same level it was growing in its original container. Water until moisture begins to drip through the drainage holes.
Place the container or basket in a location that will receive a minimum of five hours of sun each day.
Water bougainvillea when the soil is too dry to stick to your finger. Avoid adding bits of water everyday, instead soak the plant well about once each week.
Fertilize at every watering with a water-soluble fertilizer mixed at half the strength recommended on the package.
Prune branches back to maintain a length of 18 to 20 inches. This will prolong the blooming cycle and give an attractive appearance. Remove dead wood as soon as it is noticed. Ideal pruning time is after one wave of blooms have faded and before new blossoms begin to develop.
Move bougainvillea indoors in fall, before the first hard freeze in your area. Place next to a sunny window, and keep the soil moist.