Native to South America, bougainvilleas are woody evergreen or semi-evergreen shrubs and vines that grow best in tropical or subtropical regions. Bougainvilleas bloom in small, yellowish-white tube-like flowers surrounded by showy, papery bracts that come in a range of bright colors, depending on the species and cultivated variety. Bougainvilleas grow best in the ground outdoors in USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 11, where winter temperatures rarely dip down to 25 degrees F, or indoors in containers in other regions.
Plant bougainvilleas in a location that receives bright, full sunlight and has fertile, loamy, well-draining soil. Plant the bougainvillea beside a climbing support, such as an arbor, trellis, fence or wall.
Water bougainvilleas infrequently, watering deeply once per week only during droughts or prolonged dry spells. Water container-grown bougainvilleas only when the potting soil begins to dry out completely.
Feed your bougainvilleas with a water-soluble 20-20-20 or 21-5-20 NPK fertilizer. Feed the vines three times each year at half the normal dosage rate.
Prune bougainvillea while it's actively growing to remove any overgrown canes, cutting them back to the main stems. Trim bougainvillea to control its size and keep it tidy.
Provide your container-grown bougainvilleas with a resting period in winter by reducing or withholding water and stopping any feeding.