Australian Bougainvillea Maintenance


Bougainvilleas are tropical plants native to South America that grow well in the southern parts of the United States located in USDA plant zones 9b and warmer. They also grow well in other warm climates, such as the frost-free areas of Australia. They are most known for their vibrant-colored flowers that bloom throughout the year. There are many varieties of bougainvillea, including Surprise and Vickie cultivars, which bloom both pink and white blooms. Grown as ground cover, climbing vine or shrub, bougainvilleas are easy to care for and make nice additions to the landscape.

Step 1

Allow the soil to dry out between watering. Do not keep the soil moist. According to the University of Florida, the hotter and the harsher the conditions are, the more it will flower.

Step 2

Fertilize every six months. Use a fertilizer with a lot of potassium. For example, a fertilizer labeled as 20-20-20 or 21-15-20 will suffice (potassium is the last element listed). Apply according to the label, and water afterward if you do not use a water-soluble fertilizer.

Step 3

Keep branches 18 to 20 inches long for best blooming, according to Texas A&M University. You can also allow them to grow longer as climbers or trailing plants, if desired, but they will not blossom as much as a bougainvillea grown like a shrub. Prune using a pair of garden hand clippers.

Step 4

Bring in potted bougainvilleas before the first fall or winter freeze in cooler USDA zones. Set in an area that gets lots of sunlight, such as close to a sunny, south-facing window.

Things You'll Need

  • Fertilizer
  • Hand clippers


  • University of Flordia: Right Plant, Right Place Florida Friendly Bougainvillea
  • Floridata: Bougainvillea spp
  • Gardening Australia: Bougainvillea
  • Texas A&M University: Growing Bougainvilleas
Keywords: bougainvillea maintenance, bougainvillea care, growing bougainvillea

About this Author

Melissa Lewis has been a professional writer since 2005. Her work has appeared in various online publications. A former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist, Lewis is also a script writer, with a movie script, "Homecoming," she co-wrote currently in production. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology.