Discover everything about Growing Bougainvilleas in Pots and bring beautiful bursts of color to your balcony, patio, or garden.
Bougainvillea is probably one of the most stunning flowering plants of a warm climate. It never stops blooming, filling any outdoor space with colors.
While it’s commonly grown on the ground, it’s also possible to grow bougainvillea in pots. This is a great option if you have limited outdoor space or if you want to add a flowering shrub to your small garden. Growing Bougainvillea in Pots is also a great option if you live in a cold climate–this way, you can overwinter it when cold weather hits.
Botanical Name: Bougainvillea spp.
Common Names: Paper flower, bugambilia, and bougie
USDA Zones: 9-11
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Bougainvillea Plant Profile
Bougainvillea is a popular ornamental plant known for its colorful bracts that surround its tiny, inconspicuous flowers. The plant is native to South America, particularly Brazil, but is widely cultivated in all other parts of the world, including the United States, where it is grown as an annual or perennial, depending on the climate.
It belongs to the Nyctaginaceae family and can also be grown as a container plant and brought indoors during colder months.
Best Types of Bougainvillea Suitable for Pots
You can grow any type of Bougainvilleas in the pots. However, the ones mentioned below are the best for containers.
1. Bougainvillea ‘Barbara Karst’
Botanical Name: Bougainvillea spectabilis ‘Barbara Karst’
This is a popular variety known for its bright magenta-pink bracts that bloom in summer and fall. This vigorous grower can reach up to 30 feet but can be maintained in pots with regular pruning.
2. Bougainvillea ‘Golden Jackpot’
Botanical Name: Bougainvillea spp. ‘Golden Jackpot’
This is another stunning variety with golden-yellow bracts that bloom profusely throughout the year. This plant is compact and grows up to 3-4 feet tall, making it ideal for small pots or hanging baskets.
3. Bougainvillea ‘Vera Deep Purple’
Botanical Name: Bougainvillea x buttiana ‘Vera Deep Purple’
This variety produces deep purple bracts that contrast beautifully against its dark green leaves. It is a compact grower that reaches a maximum height of 6-8 feet, making it a great option for smaller pots.
4. Bougainvillea ‘Torch Glow’
Botanical Name: Bougainvillea ‘Torch Glow’
It is a dwarf variety that produces brilliant pink and red bracts that bloom throughout the year. This plant grows up to 2-3 feet tall, making it ideal for small pots or hanging baskets.
5. Bougainvillea ‘Hawaiian Torch’
Botanical Name: Bougainvillea ‘Hawaiian Torch’
Another compact variety with vibrant red-orange bracts that bloom in flushes throughout the year. This plant grows up to 3-4 feet tall, making it suitable for small to medium-sized pots.
6. Bougainvillea ‘Singapore Pink’
Botanical Name: Bougainvillea glabra ‘Singapore Pink’
This is a beautiful variety with delicate pink bracts that bloom in flushes throughout the year. This compact grower reaches a height of 6-8 feet, making it suitable for medium-sized pots.
7. Bougainvillea ‘Raspberry Ice’
Botanical Name: Bougainvillea x ‘Raspberry Ice’
A stunning variety with light pink and white variegated bracts that bloom in spring and summer. This compact grower reaches a maximum height of 6-8 feet, making it ideal for medium-sized pots.
8. Bougainvillea ‘Orange King’
Botanical Name: Bougainvillea spectabilis ‘Orange King’
This variety produces bright orange bracts that are sure to add a pop of color to any outdoor space. It is a vigorous grower that can reach up to 10-20 feet but can be trained to grow in a pot with regular pruning.
9. Bougainvillea ‘California Gold’
Botanical Name: Bougainvillea ‘California Gold’
It is another gorgeous variety with golden yellow bracts that bloom in flushes throughout the year. This plant grows up to 10-15 feet tall but can be maintained in smaller pots with regular pruning.
10. Bougainvillea ‘Imperial Delight’
Botanical Name: Bougainvillea x buttiana ‘Imperial Delight’
This variety produces variegated pink and white bracts that bloom in spring and summer. It is a compact grower that reaches a maximum height of 6-8 feet, making it ideal for medium-sized pots.
11. Bougainvillea ‘Purple Queen’
Botanical Name: Bougainvillea spectabilis ‘Purple Queen’
This variety produces deep purple bracts that bloom in summer and fall. It is a vigorous grower that can reach up to 15-20 feet but can be trained to grow in a pot with regular pruning.
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Choosing the Right Pot for Bougainvillea
Choosing the right container for Growing Bougainvillea in Pots is crucial for its growth and health. Initially, you can start a young plant in an 8-10 inches deep pot. Remember, the size of the pot should be one or two times bigger than the rootball of the plant. As the plant grows and matures–keep on re-potting it into a bigger container. Ideally, a 16 to 18 inches deep pot is sufficient for an old established plant.
The container should have enough drainage holes to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot. Terracotta pots are a good option as they are porous and allow for better air circulation around the roots. Plastic pots are also a popular modern choice as they are lightweight and durable.
When selecting a pot, it’s important to consider the location and climate where the plant will be grown, as well as the aesthetics of the pot to complement the beauty of the Bougainvillea plant.
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Requirements for Growing Bougainvillea in Pots
Bougainvillea requires full sun for the best blooming. It should be planted in an area that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day, or the more, the better. Avoid planting in shaded areas or along north-facing walls.
Note: The more sunlight it gets, the better it will be for its growth.
Bougainvilleas prefer a well-draining, slightly acidic to neutral potting mix that contains a bit of organic material such as manure, compost, peat moss, or coir.
A good DIY potting mix for bougainvillea should hold a mix of peat moss or coconut coir, sterilized garden soil, and coarse sand; you can even add a handful of well-rotted manure to the mix.
The addition of slow-release fertilizer, such as a 5-10-10 or 10-10-10, will help provide the nutrients needed for optimal growth, but it’s optional. The pH of the potting mix should be between 5.5 to 7.
Note: The plant is not at all fussy about the growing medium and can flourish easily in any type of growing medium.
For Growing Bougainvillea in Pots, it is crucial that it gets periodic watering, especially when you are growing it in full sun. The plant can tolerate drought, so it would be a good idea to water it only when the topsoil goes a little dry to the touch.
Avoid getting water on the leaves, which can lead to fungal diseases. Also, don’t keep the plant on the drier side to have more flowers.
Note: Generally, a bougainvillea should be watered two to three times per week in the summer. During periods of extreme heat, the plant may need to be watered more often. However, the frequency of watering depends more on the pot size and if the plant is root bound.
Temperature and Humidity
Bougainvilleas are warm climate plants and prefer a high-temperature range. They thrive in temperatures between 60-100°F (15-38°C). The plant should be protected from temperatures below 50°F (10°C).
Humidity is not a major concern for this plant, but it does prefer moderate to high humidity levels in the range of 40-60 percent.
For best results, choose a trellis that is sturdy and tall enough to provide ample support for the growing plant. Bougainvillea will spread rapidly and may even need to be trimmed back occasionally.
Make sure the trellis you choose is strong enough to support the weight of the vine and its flowers. If you want to keep your bougainvillea pruned and neat, you may want to choose a lattice or other type of trellis that allows for easy trimming.
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Bougainvillea Care in Pots
The best type of fertilizer to use for bougainvilleas is a balanced fertilizer that is equally high in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, with a ratio of 10-10-10 or 20-20-20.
You can look for a fertilizer specifically designed for bougainvillea. You can also opt for any of the rose fertilizers available in the market to promote heavy blooming–it works!
Always prune bougainvillea after it flowers–preferably in late winter or early spring. Pruning during the flowering period will reduce the production of blooms.
- Prune bougainvilleas after it has finished flowering.
- Begin pruning by removing any dead, diseased, or damaged branches back to the healthy wood.
- Trim back any long shoots to the desired length.
- Shape the shrub by pruning out any crossing branches or branches that are growing in an undesired direction.
- Remove any suckers that are growing from the base of the bougainvillea.
- Cut back any long, unruly branches to a shorter length.
- Thin out the plant by removing any overcrowded branches. This will encourage air circulation and help the plant thrive.
- Prune out any branches that are growing too close to other plants or structures.
- Make sure to make all your cuts at a 45-degree angle, just above a node. This will ensure that the bougainvillea can heal quickly.
- After pruning, apply a balanced fertilizer to the soil. This will help the plant to recover and produce more blooms.
Pests and Diseases
Bougainvillea is a tough plant but still susceptible to some dry climate pest infestations, including mealybugs, scale insects, and spider mites. Regular inspection and treatment with an insecticide or homemade soap solution can help prevent and control infestations.
This plant can also be affected by fungal diseases, such as powdery mildew and leaf spot. Adequate air circulation and avoiding wetting the leaves can help prevent these diseases.
Here is How to Care for a Bougainvillea Plant
Different Ways to Grow Bougainvillea
1. Upright Standard: Plant the bougainvillea in the ground or in a large pot and train it to grow up a stake or trellis for a vertical accent.
2. Hanging Basket: Allow the bougainvillea to trail over the side of a hanging basket for a cascading effect.
3. Espalier: Train the bougainvillea to grow along a flat surface such as a wall, fence, or trellis as they do in the Mediterranean.
4. Topiary: Prune and shape the bougainvillea into a topiary form such as a cone, sphere, circle, or other desired shape.
5. Ground Cover: Plant the bougainvillea on the ground and let it grow outward in all directions to cover an area.
6. Container Garden: Plant several bougainvillea plants in different containers and arrange them in a grouping for a beautiful display.
7. Bonsai: You can also create a bougainvillea bonsai. It’s very easy and rewarding.