How to Care for a Bougainvillea Tropical Plant


Bougainvilleas are drought-tolerant, tropical plants that thrive in hot temperatures. They produce bright red, orange, yellow, pink and purple bracts housing modest, white flowers. Bougainvilleas often adorn walls, fences and garden trellises with their sweeping vines. They grow best outdoors and bloom fully when kept in full sun. Potted bougainvillea plants grow well in hanging baskets but rarely bloom. With the proper care, bougainvillea tropical plants can provide eye-catching color for many years.

Step 1

Plant your bougainvillea in the right location. Bougainvillea vines prefer at least 5 hours of sunlight a day in an area with well-drained soil. Plant near a trellis or fence and allow the vine to climb.

Step 2

Water regularly. Bougainvilleas do best when the soil is allowed to visibly dry between heavy waterings. Wilting is the most visible sign that your plant needs more water.

Step 3

Prune regularly. Bougainvillea plants only bloom on new growth and greatly benefit when old vines are removed. Pinch the ends of new growth to promote branching and a fuller look.

Step 4

Fertilize. Use a fertilizer high in phosphorous with micronutrients. Read the label carefully, as over-fertilization can severely damage your plant.

Step 5

Protect from frost. A light frost will not kill your vine, but prolonged frosts will. Protect your bougainvillea by mulching the roots and covering the vines with old sheets or blankets.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Fertilizer
  • Pruning shears


  • BGI
  • Bougainvillea Plant Care
Keywords: bougainvillea, tropical plant, bougainvillea care

About this Author

Kelsey Erin Shipman has worked as a travel writer, poet, journalist and award-winning photographer since 2004. She is a featured poet on NYC public radio, is the winner of the San Jacinto & Alethean Literary Societies' Poetry Award, and has authored three collections of poetry including "cold days," "bastante" and "short poems." She earned a B.A. in philosophy from Southwestern University.