How to Grow Bougainvillea


The South American native bougainvillea is regarded as a hardy evergreen vine, or shrub, in zones 22 through 24. According to Sunset Plant Finder the bougainvillea is also widely grown in zones 12, 13, 15 to 17, 19 and 21. Yet many varieties can grown in zones 5 and 6. The bougainvillea can be successfully grown in barrels, or similar containers, as hedges, shrubs, or on trellises. They can grow to reach heights as high as 30 feet, or more, and the brilliantly colored flowers range in hues from apricot, orange, magenta, to various shades of red and pink.

How to Grow a Bougainvillea

Step 1

Choose where you want to plant your bougainvillea. Consider the size and growth habits of the bougainvillea species you have chosen before deciding where you want to plant it.

Step 2

Dig a hole twice the width and depth of your planting container. Fill the hole up halfway with water allowed to drain before proceeding.

Step 3

The roots of a bougainvillea are extremely sensitive. Cut off the bottom of your planting receptacle with a pair of garden shears or a sharp knife.

Step 4

Put the entire container into the hole. Make sure it's level and straight. Cut off the remaining sides of the container and discard. Place dirt in the hole around the bougainvillea plant until it's filled halfway. Fill the hole with water, and once it's drained, place dirt in the hole until it's full.

Growing a Bougainvillea From a Cutting

Step 1

Fill a 4-inch pot with a potting mix that contains sand and peat moss, or perlite. Tap the soil using your hand or the base of your trowel.

Step 2

Cut or snip off a 4 - to 5-inch section of bougainvillea right below a leaf. Strip the cutting of its leaves halfway up. Dip a cutting into the hormone powder to a depth of 1 inch and tap off the excess gently.

Step 3

Poke a hole into the center of each of your pots to a depth of approximately 2 inches. Place the bougainvilea cutting into the hole. Using your fingertips, push in and firm the soil around the cutting. Water each cutting carefully, allow the water to slowly drain out the drain holes.

Step 4

Place a plastic bag over each of your cuttings to increase humidity and encourage it to take root. Place the cuttings in an area that is warm, (68 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit) but out of direct sunlight. Check on the cuttings every day. Keep them watered and covered.

Step 5

Once the bougainvillea cuttings start to grow (this can vary, but you should see sprouts within 14 to 21 days) do not disturb them until they are well established and then plant them where you wish.

Tips and Warnings

  • Wear garden gloves when handling a bougainvillea plant, to prevent injury from its sharp thorns.

Things You'll Need

  • Bougainvillea plant, or cuttings
  • Potting mix
  • Shovel or trowel
  • 4-inch pots
  • Plastic bags
  • Hormone rooting powder
  • Garden shears, or knife
  • Garden gloves


  • Information on the Bougainvillea

Who Can Help

  • Find Your Planting Zone
Keywords: bougainvillea, growing bougainvilleas, bougainvilleas