How to Care for a Bougainvillea Flower


Bougainvillea, a perennial vine native to South America, thrives in zones 9 through 11, although it may survive in zone 8 with proper winter care. The plant requires little maintenance once established and produces bright, colorful flowers almost year round with proper care. Gardeners also admire the vine's attractive evergreen foliage. Available in multiple varieties, some bougainvillea plants can reach up to 40 feet in length. Regular pruning, however, allows gardeners to maintain the vine at any size they desire. Commonly used to adorn fences and trellises, bougainvillea adds a colorful point of interest to any yard or garden landscape.

Step 1

Plant bougainvillea during spring in a location that receives full sunlight and has well-drained soil. Enrich the existing soil by spreading a 2-inch layer of compost over the ground and using a spade to incorporate. Space additional bougainvillea plants 36 to 60 inches apart.

Step 2

Apply a 2-to-3-inch layer of mulch over the ground around the plant to improve the soil's moisture retention and prevent weed growth. Spread the mulch during mid-spring and remove it during late fall. Provide about 3 inches of room between the mulch and the plant's base.

Step 3

Water bougainvillea once every five to seven days, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between each application. Soak the soil to a depth of 4 inches to provide adequate moisture without causing rot. Reduce watering frequency to once every 10 to 14 days during winter.

Step 4

Fertilize the plant three times a year, once during March, once during May, and again in June, using a balanced 20-20-20 NPK fertilizer. Apply according to the manufacturer's instructions for proper dosage. Soak the soil lightly prior to feeding to prevent root burn.

Step 5

Prune bougainvillea once per year during late winter, just prior to the beginning of new growth. Remove all dead and diseased branches, and cut back overgrown limbs with pruning shears to improve the plant's appearance and encourage new, healthy growth.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost
  • Spade
  • Mulch
  • Fertilizer
  • Pruning shears


  • Floridata: Bougainvillea Spp.
  • Texas A&M University: Bougainvillea
  • "Arizona Gardener's Guide"; Mary Irish; 2001

Who Can Help

  • The United States National Arboretum: USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
Keywords: bougainvillea vine care, growing bougainvillea flower, grow bougainvillea plant

About this Author

Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including