Ultimate Guide to Care of Bougainvillea Plants

Bougainvillea are currently the most cultivated climbing decorative plants for their beautiful blooms.  The bougainvillea brings a lot of color to the garden or orchard. More than 10 species and hybrids we can find. They are characterized by developing a woody trunk over the years. Many people have managed to make beautiful bonsai with these plants. They are use a lot for the decoration of fences and walls, parks, terrace etc.

It was introduced in Europe, from Brazil. By the French navigator Antoine de Bougainville, during the 18th century. A thorny climbing shrub can remain florid even in winter.


We can use the bougainvillea as focal point, intermediate and as height.

It is very appreciated to cover walls, walls, fences, etc …

Bougainvillea can be planted separately and capable with a rounded shape.

It is also commonly used to form delimiting hedges as well as decorative ones.

It can be used to cover an embankment or unevenness.

Where are bougainvillea found?

The bougainvillea has different name around the world. According to Wikipedia, buganvilla in Spain; bugambilia in Mexico, Guatemala, Cuba, & Philippines; bouganvilla in India; pokok bunga kertas in Indonesia & Malaysia; bougenville in Pakistan; Napoleón in Honduras; jahanamiya in Arab World; veranera in Colombia, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Panama; trinitaria in Colombia, Panama, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic & Venezuela; Santa Rita in Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay; papelillo in Northern Peru, or primavera in Brazil.

Are bougainvillea plants Evergreen?

In general, all Bougainvillea are able to flourish abundantly and throughout the year; but only if the weather conditions is optimal for grow.

We love to decorate our metal fence with bougainvillea that can able to hold it in its vertical growth. In the hole, we need to place a mixture of compost, substrate, ash and soil to plant it. Also require a good irrigation and we can relish this outstanding climbing plant.

It should be also remembered that the impressive coloring offered by the plant is not due to the flowers; in fact, the flowers are white of reduced size, surrounded by a kind of “leaves” called bracts. That are the ones that dress in the different colors according to the variety of bougainvillea.

Then, we can distinguish three parts in what refers to the visual part of the plant:

1- Flowers (white and small)

2- The bracts. They look like colorful leaves. Their main function is not photosynthesis that is why they do not have green color; they are in charge of protecting the buds.

3- The “authentic” leaves. Green color whose main mission is photosynthesis.

Tips for growing Bougainvillea or Paper Flowers

Do bougainvillea need a lot of sun?

The first thing we need to know is that the bougainvillea need full sunlight to favor their growth and flowering. The sun is essential if we want our plant with spectacular blooms.  The more sun receives better. Even if your plant does not bloom, it is most likely due to lack of lighting. If we grow it, in shady places it will cause its leaves to grow too much (it increases the size of the foliage) and it may flourish little or nothing.

How often do you need to water bougainvillea?

The second thing we need to know these plants are quite resistant to dry seasons when they are quite large but, water require if our bougainvillea very small. Bougainvillea do not like water stores near their roots. We must water them 2-3 times a week without swamping the soil. When your root system is large enough we will not have to worry about watering, they will get the necessary water from the soil moisture and rains. If it is newly planted, then frequent watering is important.

What about the Soil

The soil must drain well. Add river sand to the hole where you will plant your bougainvillea. Never sow in areas where water accumulates. They grow very well in common land for garden and if it is rich in organic matter, much better. The optimal surface should be able to retain a little moisture for a while because if the drainage is perfect, we need to be more attentive to your water needs. In any case, the soil can never be flooded because it can cause foliage to fall.

Can bougainvillea survive a freeze?

Bougainvillea requires growing in warm climates where the lowest temperatures are not below 10 ° C. The ideal temperatures to encourage their flowering are between 20-30 ° C. In tropical climates, this species grows without problems but in temperate zones, the frosts will cause the death of the plant. In that case, it is advisable to grow in greenhouses.

Pests and diseases

Many pests and diseases can present bougainvillea and the most common are the following:

Pill bugs are a very difficult nuisance to combat for these plants and appear as whitish or yellow bumps on the leaves. Remedy: If you have only detected few of these insects, you should remove them with a piece of cotton soaked in alcohol. If there are too many pill bugs, you must resort to specific insecticides for these pests.

Aphids or aphids are another important pest that attacks bougainvillea and are capable of greatly affecting the health of these plants. When they attack the leaves, they cause them to fold and yellow. The sugary element that they release from their abdomen is deposit on the stems and leaves soothing the appearance of fungi that will affect the photosynthetic mechanism of the plant.

Remedy: Eliminate manually if the quantity of aphids is very small with a bath of soapy water or remove them with your fingers. If the quantity is very large, you should use alternative to specific insecticides.

If the leaves start to turn completely yellow, it may be due to excess or lack of water.

Remedy: Water less or more depending on the aspect that is causing this symptom.

Can bougainvillea be grown from cuttings?

The reproduction of this species is somewhat complicated and by seeds it is almost impossible. There are two widely used methods; by cuttings and by layering. Very few cuttings that are submerged in rooting. As hormones is apply to produce roots. This method is ineffective. The layering is the ideal because we only have to observe if some creeping stem has emitted some roots and if we find one, we cut and sow it where we want (very sure you will get a new plant).

How do you take care of a bougainvillea plant?

These suggestions are only for bougainvillea that are sown directly to the ground. Bougainvillea bloom better when they are stressed. Many people do not know that hidden facts. So, when they are about to flower, decreases watering or stops completely.

What is the best fertilizer for bougainvillea?

Trying to use organic fertilizer that enriches and adds nutrients to the soil. If you notice the yellow leaves (chlorosis) then use foliar fertilizer with Super thrive. Which is considered natural, but not 100% organic.

How do I get my bougainvillea to bloom?

For your bougainvillea to bloom, use fertilizer for organic flowering. Use it after the bloom.

Never fertilize with dry soil. Water your bougainvillea and then fertilize it.

It is also good to pay with compost once a year. This applies to all plants.

If you use chemical fertilizers, use one low in nitrogen for flowering when the plant does not have flowers. So that the leaves maintain a deep green color, you can use a homogeneous fertilizer, but only half the recommended dose.

Something important in terms of fertilizer, just use it when necessary. If your plant is healthy and blooms well, DO NOT fertilize it.

How do you trim a bougainvillea?

Pruning is extremely important for the Bougainvillea to flourish. These plants only bloom through the shoots.

By the passage of time your bougainvillea becomes ugly, or some branches dry, you can perform a drastic pruning. The important thing of the drastic pruning is that it must be accompanied with fertilizer.

Wear gloves and glasses when pruning.

Use liquid fertilizer after watering your bougainvillea; never use it with dry soil.

Do not sow your bougainvillea in an area where plenty of soil water.

Bougainvillea – An extra Care

Never fertilize your Bougainvillea when it is blooms, unless it is a slow release fertilizer (slow release) as it is 14-14-14.

You can never prune your bougainvillea when it is blooming.

If you are going to plant them in a pot, make sure that the bougainvillea are of the same variety. They can be of different colors, with that there is no problem, but they must be the same variety. Why? Some grow faster than others do, and therefore they will not see uniform. In addition, the leaves of some varieties are very large, while others are smaller.

Undoubtedly, one of the most beautiful and striking shrubs that exist is the bougainvillea. I hope you can use these suggestions in your garden. If you have any advice that you want to share, do it in the comments. Share the blog on your social networks.

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