How to Grow Bougainvillea Plants
Here are some easy tips for how to grow Bougainvillea Plants: Plant in a hole as deep as the root ball (and 2x the width). Pack soil to get air out. Soak with 1 gallon of water. Add 2 in. organic mulch. Use a well-draining soil of equal parts sand, silt, and clay mixed with some organic matter. Use a soil mix labeled “Quick Draining.” Bougainvillea plants have two growth cycles: vegetative (new leaves and stems) and a blooming period (flowers 3-5 wks.) Flowers need 5 hrs. minimum full sun daily to bloom.
Common Name: Paper Flower
How to Pronounce: (boo- or boh-gun-VEE-yuh)
Description: A large, shrub-like tropical vine with heart-shaped leaves and masses of paper-thin flowers (bracts) on thorny branches. These annual plants grow 15-20 ft. tall and need support, like a trellis, wall, or arbor. Bougainvillea plants like well-draining, slightly acid soil. The many cultivars include double-flower and variegated types.
Origin: South America; Named by a French botanist
USDA Hardiness Zones: 9-11
Fertilizer Needs: The roots of these annual plants are weak and need iron. In bloom, Bougainvillea plants are heavy feeders. Use a 6-8-10 water soluble or granular food monthly. Follow package directions.
Maintenance: For fuller growth, pinch about 1/2 inch off the soft tips of young plants. New stems grow from 2-3 leaf buds down below the pinch. Best time to do this is after the flowering cycle. Bougainvillea only blooms on new growth, so prune in early summer to shape and strengthen them.
Water: Paper Flower plants are drought-hardy; water 2-3 in. once a week. Let soil dry in between, but not bone dry. Make sure water drains away; they don’t like wet feet.
Environment/Light Needs: Paper Flower plants need a minimum nighttime temp. of 60 degrees; they can survive in daytime temps. of 100 degrees or more. They do best with 8-10 hours of full sun.
Overwinter: Grows in full sun (60-70 degrees); take indoors before first frost. Use a soil-less (lightweight, easy-draining) mix. Overwintered, Bougainvillea will usually not bloom.