Bougainvillea Care Tips

Bougainvillea is a tropical vine that is known for its brightly-colored flowers and ability to bloom several times in one growing season. This hardy, warm-climate plant can be trained to grow as a vine, shrub or bonsai tree. The "flowers" are actually bracts, which are colored leaves that surround the tiny, insignificant white flowers. Bougainvillea plants do not require special care, but you can do some things to increase the blooming of your vine.

Lots of Light

Bougainvillea are tropical plants. Native to South America, they require full sunlight in order to thrive. Place or plant your bougainvillea where it will receive a minimum of five hours of sunlight per day, and preferably eight to 12 hours.

Well-Draining Soil

Bougainvillea plants cannot tolerate very wet, soggy soil. Standing water will quickly rot the thin, delicate roots of these beautiful vines. Plant your bougainvillea in loose, well-draining soil or potting soil that has sand and peat moss added to help it drain.

Keep It Warm

Bougainvillea are drought-tolerant plants. They thrive in warm temperatures. In fact, the temperatures around a bougainvillea plant should never drop below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in a climate where the temperatures are cooler than this, plant your bougainvillea in a pot so you can bring it indoors when the weather cools.

Water Sparingly

Water your bougainvillea when the soil becomes slightly dry, but not bone-dry. Watch for the plant to begin wilting, then water it slowly and deeply until the water drains out of the bottom of the pot, or until there is a thin layer of standing water on the surface.

Feed Regularly

In early spring, fertilize with a slow-release, balanced (10-10-10) fertilizer. When summer begins, fertilize your bougainvillea plant regularly with a water-soluble, balanced fertilizer that is also high in micronutrients, especially iron. In the fall, give the bougainvillea another application of slow-release fertilizer, then do not feed it during the dormant winter months.

Keywords: care tips, Bougainvilla, how to grow

About this Author

April Sanders has been an educator since 1998. Nine years later she began writing curriculum. She currently writes academic research content for EBSCO publishing and elementary reading curriculum for Compass Publishing. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in social psychology and a master's degree in information sciences and technology in education.