Sumo Gardener

Bougainvillea : Complete Growing and Care Guide

Most gardens have one popular plant in common and that is Bougainvillea. Bougainvillea care will surely bring joy to your garden, The best part, it’s easy to plant and maintain. 

When in full bloom, the fabulous, decorative flowers outnumber the leaves and the blossoms come in bright colors of red, orange, white, yellow, pink, magenta, or purple.

With this bougainvillea care guide, you'll be equipped with everything you need to grow this gorgeous flowering plant.


Bougainvillea Complete Growing and Care Guide

What is Bougainvillea?

Bougainvillea Care Complete Growing Guide

Bougainvillea thrives in sunny weather and blooms all year-round, in non-tropical areas the floras lasts only four to six weeks. Great for outdoors and indoors too, but be sure that it will receive a lot of UV rays and the soils are mostly dry during the freezing winter.

Don’t be misled by the stunning tones of red, pink, orange, or yellow blooms they are actually leaves. The tiny white flowers in the center are surrounded by vibrantly, rolled-up leaves called bracts.

Bougainvillea is a gardener’s dream plant – a blooming machine with little maintenance. Keep in mind that this tropical plant needs dry soil, plenty of sunlight, and fertilizer.

They can survive with little water and repellent to insects and plant diseases. If blooms aren’t showing withhold water, this sometimes tricks them into hibernation and generates new flowers.

When it comes to landscape maintenance, the only thing you need to worry about is to rake the fallen flowers on the ground.

How to Grow Bougainvillea?

Growing bougainvillea can transform your garden into a tropical paradise. You can trim it into a little shrubbery, turn it into a medium-sized bush, or train it like a creeping vine crawling to pergolas, patios, walls, and fences.

Look for a sunny area in your garden, bougainvillea is a sun-lover and needs at least six hours of sunlight to thrive. Dig a hole that is twice as wide and as deep as the plant’s root ball.

Be sure that the soil drains well, bougainvillea will rot when kept soaked. Lift the plant from the container and slightly wet the root ball, lightly tap the soil at the base before placing it in the hole. Consider planting on a slope for good drainage.

Where to Plant Bougainvillea?

Bougainvillea thriving in sunny weather

If you live in an area where the sun shines all-year, growing bougainvillea outdoors will be great. Otherwise, place it in a container and bring it inside during winter months, it will not survive the freezing temperature.

If subfreezing temperature looms, cloak the plants with tarps or old sheets and prop it up with stakes to avoid touching the plant so that they won’t be impaired or killed. 

No worries if the plant dies on the ground, it usually pops out in spring if it is significantly mulched and watered moderately.

It’s best to plant during spring or summer, it will give ample time for the bougainvillea to settle in before the cold weather comes. A cold snap to a freshly planted bougainvillea is likely to get hit or wither.

Bougainvillea prefers well-drained soil. Consider adding sand. Perlite, or peat moss for low water retention. A water pool deprives the water of oxygen.

Preparing soil includes mixing 1/3 organic compost to 2/3 local soil to improve soil health. And layer the top with about 3 inches of mulch to be safer than sorry.

Use regular potting soil if you are planting in containers, it must at least have one drainage hole. Do not use too much peat moss, it retains moisture and rots the roots. Install a trellis while planting to support the plant, setting up one later might damage the roots.

Bougainvillea Care

Put those dried leaves to good use by making your homemade mulch for your flowering plants.

They help reduce the development of weeds, hold soil dampness, keep the temperature of the soil at a low level during summer’s heat, and shield the bougainvillea during winter’s cold. In the end, they decay and add nutrients to the soil and enhance soil composition.

Growing bougainvillea requires fertilization, at least once a year. Frequent application of fertilizer will cause the plant to grow vigorously, cut back on fertilizer if it is getting too big.

Bougainvillea in a fence

Mix one tablespoon fertilizer with one gallon of water and water the plant with a water can.Bougainvillea requires less water, too much water weakens the plant resulting in more leaf growth than blooms.

Conversely, the plant will get stressed out and wilt from dry soil. It prefers a good, deep watering than repeated shallow watering. The plant hates over-watering and the soil should be well-drained to prevent root rots.

Bougainvillea Diseases

Bougainvillea care generally healthy plants, but sometimes they acquire fungal, bacterial, or parasitic infections.

Bougainvillea care won't be complete without knowing some of the diseases you need to look out for. 

Leaf Spot

Reddish-brown spots appear on young leaves. The spots expand, it becomes more rounded or unusual in appearance finally shaping a tan spot with reddish-brown borders.

As the disease gains, the bracts and leaves may get deformed. The leaf looks ragged and leaf loss often happens when the disease gets out of hand.

This problem can be prevented by separating full-grown bougainvillea between six and nine feet, smaller breeds between three and five feet, to allow good airflow among plants.

Water from below rather than overhead, and remove dead leaves to keep leaf spot infection from scattering.

Root Rot

Poorly drained soil is a habitat to fungi such as Rhizoctonia, Phytophthora, and Pythium that attacks the bougainvillea.

The leaves will become yellow and the growth of parts or the whole plant will suffer. Acute cases will cause the bougainvillea to wilt or die.

You can stop root rot by applying copper ammonium before planting. Prepare two tablespoons and mix with one gallon of water and drizzle the soil entirely.

Apply every seven to fourteen days as needed. Avoid planting your bougainvillea on water pools and over-watering.

Wrapping Up Bougainvillea Care & Growing Guide

If you are warming up to gardening, bougainvillea is the way to go. Check out our beginner's guide in gardening to be more ready in your gardening adventure. 

When bougainvillea blooms all you can see are beautiful flowers that will make any gardener envious of your landscape.

Although these are sturdy plants it happens that they get sick and simple bougainvillea care treatments will heal them and get them back on track. 

About the Author Ann Katelyn

I'm Ann Katelyn, Creator and Chief Author of Sumo Gardener. Since I was a child I've always been fascinated with plants and gardens, and as an adult this has developed into my most loved hobby. I have dedicated most of my life to gardening and started Sumo Gardener as a way to express my knowledge about gardening with the hope of helping other people's gardens thrive.

follow me on:

Leave a Comment: