How to Grow Bougainvilleas


The bougainvillea produces an abundance of colorful paper-thin leaves that resemble flowers. It does well in warm, desert regions and does not tolerate frost. In some areas, such as San Antonia, it is not advised to plant the bougainvillea directly in the ground, as the soil there is considered too rich, winter is too severe and the rain is too plentiful. In those areas the bougainvillea can be grown in containers and baskets, allowing them to be moved during severe climate changes.

Step 1

Choose a sunny area to plant the bougainvillea or place the container, as the plant does best in full sunshine or high shade.

Step 2

Dig a hole in the ground slightly larger than the container from which you are removing the bougainvillea. Fill your pot with regular potting soil, if you intend to grow your bougainvillea in a container and not in the ground. A new container should be no larger than two times the original one.

Step 3

Set the bougainvillea in the hole or pot and backfill. The soil line should be the same in the new location as it was in its original container. Water thoroughly. The soil should be well draining, not soggy.

Step 4

Water regularly, allowing for the soil to dry between watering. The bougainvillea does not tolerate soggy or muddy soil.

Step 5

Prune the plant to achieve the desired shape. The bougainvillea can tolerate excessive pruning.

Step 6

Fertilize regularly. Consult with your local gardening center for the appropriate fertilizer for your soil conditions. 1/2 strength water soluble fertilizer is often advised.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid over fertilizing with nitrogen, as it can lead to excessive growth and reduced flowering.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel or potting soil and pot
  • Garden shears
  • Fertilizer


  • ArgiLife Extension; Dept. of Horticulture Sciences; Growing Bougainvilleas
  • LSU AgCener; Bougainvillea; 2009
  • University of Florida; Hendry County Horticulture News Bougainvillea - A Robust and Spectacular Climbing Vine
Keywords: growing bougainvillea, planting bougainvillea, bougainvillea care

About this Author

Ann Johnson was the editor of a community magazine in Southern California for more than 10 years and was an active real estate agent, specializing in commercial and residential properties. She has a Bachelors of Art degree in communications from California State University of Fullerton. Today she is a freelance writer and photographer, and part owner of an Arizona real estate company.