Bougainvillea, a growing guide

Photo of Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea is a gorgeous flowering climbing plant whose flowers are wonderful vibrant colours. If you are lucky enough to live in a region of very mild winters make sure you grow this plant. For the rest of us - grow it anyway but make sure you overwinter it indoors or grow it all year round in a heated conservatory.

Grow your Bougainvillea in a large pot and place in full sun and it will quickly reward you with lots of magenta flowers (these are really bracts and hide the tiny real flowers) and deep green leaves. Look closely at the bracts and they really are amazingly pretty.

Growing Guide for Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea are tender and so unless you live near the Mediterranean grow in a large pot and overwinter inside or alternatively grow in a heated conservatory. Plant in a loam-based potting compost with plenty of crocks at the bottom of the pot as Bougainvillea like well drained soil. They are a climbing plant and will need a support. In Mediterranean areas you can see bougainvilleas covering the fronts of houses but even in your conservatory you should be able to achieve growth up to a couple of meters high.

During the growing season feed well and water regularly. Prune from time to time to stop the plant getting straggly. Feed with a high nitrogen fertilizer before the bracts start colouring and then change to a balanced fertiliser once the colour starts to appear.

Once nights start getting cold bring the plant inside to a sunny spot. If temperatures fall below 10° it will loose its leaves. If this happens keep the soil fairly dry until leaves start growing again. It the temperature falls below this the plant will die.

Treat these plants well and they will flower from July to September and live for years.

Bougainvilleas work very well in Mediterranean style gardens but their bright dramatic colours also make them suitable for Tropical or Exotic style gardens.

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