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How to Care for Bougainvilleas

By Gail Thompson ; Updated September 21, 2017

Bougainvilleas are tropical plants that love sunlight. Learn more about how to care for bougainvilleas with tips from a gardener in this free plant care video.


We are here today to talk about the growing and the care of your bougainvilleas. This tropical plant loves sun and lots of it. Six to eight hours of sun per day for it to flower. If it doesn't get that amount of sun you will get a lot of green and no flower. Now, also don't over water your bougainvilleas. Depending on environmental conditions: where you live, where you plant your bougainvilleas, once a week should be sufficient. In a warmer climate, twice a week. Drainage is a must. Good drainage. This plant does not like to have wet feet. If it does, you're going to have problems with the growing, with fungal problems. So: warmth, sun, don't over water. Also feed your bougainvilleas a nice high-phosphate, generally good garden variety food. I like to go organic. Now, in order to prepare your bougainvilleas for prime flowering time, start early. Prep your bougainvillea with a nice zero-ten-ten. All that does is tell the bougainvillea to put out flowers, roots and be healthy. There's no nitrogen to spike it a little bit early. Again, zero-ten-ten in the springtime, followed up by a nice organic feeding. Set your plant up for a really wonderful life in your garden. Now, you have thorns on this bougainvillea. Be careful when you're planting it. Also, bougainvilleas tend to have a magnesium, calcium and iron deficiency. If you see yellowing leaves or dropping leaves or if your bougainvillea just kind of lacks luster, give it a really good supplement of minerals. The last aspect that we'll talk about here is its high salt tolerance. Again, where its native from, it is a blessing for anyone who lives near the ocean or any kind of salt environment, this does extremely well in that environment. Again a wonderful addition to anyone's home and garden.


About the Author


Gail Thompson is the owner/operator of Gardens to Grow (contractor’s license 581137), a landscaping firm in Carmel, California, that provides custom designing and building of year-round colorful, deer and drought-resistant gardens using plants from around the world. Gail has 25 years of garden design and maintenance experience, eight years of retail garden supplies experience, and three years of greenhouse management experience. She designs and maintains private, estate and resort gardens and manages three greenhouses that produce color seedlings and plants for interior landscapes.