Bougainvillea Planting Instructions


Bougainvillea is a flowering tropical vine. It adds bold color to the home landscape, with large purple or red blooms produced in winter and spring. An evergreen plant, bougainvillea grows best in areas with mild winters and little freezing. It cascades over walls and fences, but can also be trained as a small single-trunk tree for use in containers. Bougainvillea is planted in the garden from nursery-produced plants, as the seeds are slow to germinate so growers start new plants from cuttings.

Step 1

Prepare a garden bed in full-sun to part-shade. Afternoon shade is preferable to morning shade. Spread a 2- to 3-inch layer of compost over the planting area and work it into the top 8 to 10 inches of soil with a tiller or hoe.

Step 2

Dig the planting hole as deep as the container the bougainvillea is in and twice as wide. Space the holes 3 feet apart if you are planting multiple bougainvillea vines.

Step 3

Water the soil in the container until the excess water begins draining freely from the bottom, which helps loosen the soil for easier removal. Lift the bougainvillea from the pot and set it in the planting hole.

Step 4

Add or remove soil under the bougainvillea root ball until it is sitting at the same depth in the bed that it was in the nursery pot. Fill in around the roots with soil and lightly firm the soil surface.

Step 5

Water the newly planted bougainvillea until the top 6 to 8 inches of soil are moistened. Mix a starter fertilizer with the water at the rate recommended on the fertilizer label to encourage the plant to begin sending out new roots.

Tips and Warnings

  • Bougainvillea roots are easily damaged. Avoid tearing or breaking them during transplanting.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost
  • Tiller or hoe
  • Spade
  • Starter fertilizer


  • Texas A&M Extension: Growing Bougainvilleas
  • University of Florida Extension: Bougainvillea
Keywords: planting bougainvillea, growing bougainvillea vines, transplanting bougainvillea

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.