How to Plant & Take Care of Bougainvillea


The bougainvillea, a tropical woody vine, produces an abundance of paper-appearing blossoms in vibrant colors of pink, salmon, red, lavender, purple and white. The vine offers vigorous growth habits with evergreen or semi-evergreen foliage. The thorny canes can reach heights of 30 feet to 40 feet. Blossom production begins in summer and continues through autumn with nonstop color. Bougainvillea vines flourish on arbors, fences, framing in balconies or windows and also as a container plant. The vines profuse growth make it an ideal barrier choice. It is hardy from USDA hardiness zones 9 to 11.

Step 1

Plant bougainvillea in full sunlight for best flowering. Choose a location that offers well-draining soil. The plant will tolerate moderate salt conditions.

Step 2

Mix ample aged manure and peat moss into the soil prior to planting the bougainvillea. Mix 25 percent aged manure, 25 percent peat moss and 50 percent garden soil. The soil should feel crumbly to the touch.

Step 3

Place the bougainvillea into a hole that is twice as large as the vines root system. Tamp the soil down around the roots to remove any air pockets.

Step 4

Apply 2 to 3 inches of mulch around the bougainvillea. Use peat moss or bark chips.

Step 5

Water the bougainvillea vine thoroughly when planted. Maintain moist soil conditions. If the plant ceases to flower in summer or fall then allow the soil to dry out between waterings to encourage more flowering.

Step 6

Fertilize every two weeks in spring, summer and fall using a general purpose water soluble 20-20-20 fertilizer. Mix 1 tablespoon per 1 gallon of water for each plant. Water the fertilizer into the ground thoroughly. Fertilize in the winter every four to six weeks.

Step 7

Prune bougainvillea any time of year when the plants size needs to be maintained and controlled. Prune young plants to promote a bushy appearance.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Shovel
  • Peat moss
  • Aged manure
  • Mulch (bark chips or peat moss)


  • Floridata: Bougainvillea
  • Central Texas Gardening: Bougainvillea Growing by Gordon Braswell
  • Orchard of Lafayette: Growing Bougainvillea

Who Can Help

  • Plant Care: Bougainvillea
Keywords: bougainvillea care, planting bougainvillea, growing bougainvillea

About this Author

Kimberly Sharpe is a freelance writer with a diverse background. She has worked as a Web writer for the past four years. She writes extensively for Associated Content where she is both a featured home improvement contributor (with special emphasis on gardening) and a parenting contributor. She also writes for Helium. She has worked professionally in the animal care and gardening fields.