How to Plant and Grow a Bougainvillea
Probably the most important fact about growing a Bougainvillea is that it is a sun-loving plant and flourishes in hot climates. Six or more hours of either early morning or warm afternoon sun will insure good foliage and great blossoms. Bougainvilleas do exceedingly well in pots; however, if it is desired that they cover a wall with their fabulous, thick carpet of blossoming flowers they need to be planted in the ground.
Bougainvilleas also do well in ideal soil, watering and planting conditions. This plant is not too finicky, and will do well in almost any soil, but for great results be sure the soil is well-drained and contains adequate nutrients in addition to sufficient moistness. Bougainvillea's do not like to be overwatered, but have a heavy dislike for being extremely dried out. A hardy plant throughout the Southern Hemisphere, Bougainvilleas prefer temperatures of approximately 70 to 75 degrees F during the day and not much lower than 55 degrees F during cooler nights. Frequent fertilizing with bougainvilleas goes a long way as they can require heavy feeding. Don't over-fertilize, but high phosphorus with micro-nutrients will please your plantings. Early plantings will need to be staked until they develop stronger branches.
Bougainvilleas display a showy, elaborate array of bright flowers and foliage. Flowering blossoms come in stunning colors ranging from stark white, to hot pink, with pink-purples and reds in between. With a little patience and care, bougainvillea can be trained to climb and drape itself over walls, trellises or around and over pergolas. This is a sun-loving plant and if given lots of sun in decorating structures, these plants should do very well. Although not able to handle frosts well, the plant can handle occasional lower temperatures which do not exceed the low twenties. Careful attention and training will result in magnificent cascading branches of gorgeous foliage and flowing blossoms which will almost completely cover your structure. Additionally, bougainvillea does extremely well as a ground coverage or a hedge.
Bougainvilleas work very well and thrive in hanging baskets and large pots. These can be placed strategically to create accented gardening ideas. Use planters that have adequate drainage. Plant bougainvillea in good soil and fertilize with a good orchid or hibiscus plant food. This species likes it roots tightly bound and will produce very successfully in this environment. Note that bougainvillea will bloom sporadically with resting periods in between blooming stages. This is normal. It cannot be overemphasized that these plants like very sunny and hot conditions. An advantage to planting in pots is the flexibility to move plants until you find an ideal location where the plant will do well and provide the decorative purpose for which you have planted it. Some key tips for potted bougainvillea are the use of potash as a nutrient, and letting the pot dry out somewhat before flooding the pot with water.
A Final Word
To promote the greatest growth for Bougainvillea, pinch or prune the soft tips of young plants to encourage fuller growth.