8 Secret Bougainvillea Care Tips | How to Care for Bougainvillea Plant

Raul is an Editor at BalconyGardenWeb and an expert in flower and herb cultivation based in Phoenix, Arizona. A frequent speaker at horticultural events, he is also an active contributor to Facebook flower groups. Holding an MBA degree, Raul blends his gardening skills with strong leadership and analytical abilities.
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When it comes to growing Bougainvilleas, you have to be sure of many things! These Bougainvillea Care Tips will help you grow them successfully!

For tropical climates, Bougainvilleas are a boon, as they are going to offer you an all year floral fiesta! Depending on the variety that you’ll choose, they can be easily grown in containers, trellis, as ground covers, and even in tree and bonsai forms! Here are some essential Bougainvillea Care Tips that’ll help you to grow them in the best possible way!

Check out our article on bougainvillea uses in the garden here

1. Sun Exposure

Bougainvillea Care Tips

To ensure that bougainvillea blooms abundantly, strategically put it at a location where it is exposed to the direct sunlight for at least 5-6 hours or more in a day. In winters, when you bring the pot indoors, place it at a spot where it can receive an ample amount of light.

2. Optimum Watering

Bougainvilleas are pretty drought tolerant and don’t ask for frequent waterings. It is always a good idea to water deeply when the topsoil goes dry, rather than shallow watering them frequently. In winter, when they go dormant, watering them once a week is enough.

Note: Keep bougainvillea on a slightly drier side for abundant blooms.

3. Planting In RIght Soil

Bougainvillea Care Tips 2

For bougainvilleas to thrive, you need to plant them in well-draining soil. While growing them in pots, providing drainage holes is necessary. To avoid root rot, do not plant them in soil with high levels of peat moss.

4. Use Fertilizers

Bougainvillea requires regular fertilization when they flower. But wait, there is a catch! Using fertilizers too frequently can inhibit blossoming. Feeding bougainvillea, once in 4 weeks with 5-5-5 or 10-10-10 is enough. Always dilute the fertilizer to half its strength before use.

Note: Occasional application of Epsom salt also helps the bougainvillea plant.

5. Lack of Nutrients

Bougainvillea Care Tips 3

Bougainvilleas are known to have a nutritional deficiency. Look out for:

  • Pale green leaves indicate nitrogen deficiency.
  • Leaves turning purple or red indicate a phosphorous deficiency.
  • Purple edges on leaves, with brown tips, indicate a potassium deficiency.
  • Twisted leaves indicate a zinc deficiency.
  • If your plant is young and goes wilting, it indicates calcium deficiency.

If you notice such signs, buy a supplement. Do remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions before using them.

6. Pruning is Must

These plants are vigorous growers, going bushy and invasive in no time! Trim them a little, after each flowering cycle, to keep their shape in check. Always wear gloves as the majority of them have thorns. Also, do not snip off the tips, as flowers appear on them, and you’ll be causing more harm than good.

7. Care in Winters

Bougainvillea Care Tips 4

Make sure that you provide optimum drainage when the temperature drops. If you live in regions with freezing winters, the plant should not have wet feet, as it will cause root rot within no time. If you have bougainvillea in pots, relocate them indoors before the first frost.

8. Keep An Eye On Pests

Bougainvillea is not affected by pests that much. Still, be careful with aphids, mealybugs, caterpillars, slugs, and snails. You can eradicate those pests manually by hands or spraying neem oil solution on the plant to get rid of them.

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  1. leaf are dark green but are falling off and the tall stims are brown on my Bougainvillea its in a large pot can u help me?

  2. How can I get the plant to leaf out more. My plants are in a good spot and they bloom pretty well but there aren’t many leaves.

  3. What kind of pest killer can I used?The leaves look been eating and show pieces ow wed.Also no too much flowers.Tks.

    • A shallow container of beer. It’s usually slugs and they go to the beer and it will kill them. You wont see the dead slugs bc they do climb out but it works for me everytime. Especially if it’s the purple bougainvillea. Slugs like those the best.

  4. My plants were blooming and beautiful. All of a sudden they lost their blooms. They are just a vine. We have drainage. Good sun.

  5. I’m having a hard time in getting Bougainvillica food I have try Lowes, Homedpot and Wal-Mart they are out and don’t know when they will get it !!I have 13 Bougainvillea so I need the food. Thank you for your help !! Ida Spates

  6. I trimmed back my Bougainville and it is now flowering and becoming huge again. The stems are very long and becoming invasive. It needs to be trimmed back but it is flowering. Can I trim the long stems back again without damaging the plant. It is planted outside and growing very well.

    • Yea should not be problem.. the longer stems should be pruned away and as long as you do take out the trunk you good.

  7. I bought a Bougie the Spring before last. Overwintered it, trimmed it back, acclimated it to full sun this Spring, never overwatered. Only has green leaves. I’ve read that they do not need fertilizer. Only compost. Maybe next Spring I will fertilize it. Do you think I’ll ever get back my pink “blooms” (leaves)? 08/16/22

  8. My Bougainvillea bloomed all summer, now only has 3 blooms, no buds. What could be wrong? It looks healthy, but no buds.

  9. Purple, potted Bougainvillia trimmed back this spring, has now produced a bushy habit with a few purple flowers, but their colouring is not bright or vivid as last year. I’m in the Southern UK, so have to overwinter indoors. Bright sunlight has been at a premium this year. I have tried a high potassium Tomato feed diluted as recommended. But flowers still seem dull.

  10. My friends bougainvillea looks like it’s leaves is burning, but it needs sun. What can sh do for the plant. It’s a new house and area doesn’t have trees in o offer shade. Can you help!


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