Care of Bouganvillea Plants


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.

Step 1

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.

Step 2

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.

Step 3

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.

Step 4

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.

Step 5

Provide your container-grown bougainvilleas with a resting period in winter by reducing or withholding water and stopping any feeding.

Tips and Warnings

  • Be careful of where you plant your bougainvilleas, because these plants have many sharp thorns. Avoid planting bougainvilleas near walkways, swimming pools or playgrounds.

Things You'll Need

  • Climbing support
  • Garden hose or watering can
  • Water-soluble 20-20-20 or 21-5-20 NPK fertilizer
  • Pruning shears
  • Clay planter pots, 5 to 10 gallon
  • Well-draining potting mix


  • FloriData: Bougainvillea spp.
  • Aggie Horticulture: Growing Bougainvilleas

Who Can Help

  • Bougainvilleas Growers International: The Five Rules of Bougainvillea Care
  • USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
Keywords: bougainvillea care, grow bougainvilleas, bougainvillea vine

About this Author

Sarah Terry brings 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters, and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.