Ensure your bougainvillea flowers: techniques and care to ensure your plant puts on a splendid display in summer

by Mark Bennett

June 28, 2024

A bougainvillea in bloom



Much appreciated for the colorful vibrance of its flowers, a bougainvillea is a popular, climbing plant of tropical origin that is found growing in many gardens and balconies. But to thrive, you need to care for your bougainvillea properly: whether grown in open ground or in a pot, there are many things you need to pay attention to in order for your bougainvillea to flourish and bloom throughout the summer.

In this short guide, we show you all the useful techniques you can use to keep your bougainvillea at its best.

Basic care to ensure abundant flowering

The first thing to consider is the plant's location: a bougainvillea requires full exposure to the sun and should be grown in a pot so that it can be moved to shelter in the winter (if winters in your areas are harsh). Although a bougainvillea can tolerate temperatures close to zero for short periods, the ideal temperature range for this plant is between 17 and 30 degrees C.

When growing a bougainvillea in a pot, choose a pot that is large enough, as this plant needs a lot of space for its roots.

To ensure abundant flowering, a bougainvillea needs to be in a brightly illuminated spot where it can catch direct sunlight for at least 6 hours a day.

Correct watering is also essential to stimulate flowering and must be done regularly during the summer (but less frequently in winter). Bougainvillea cannot tolerate stagnant water or waterlogged soil: given this, water your bougainvillea sufficiently thoroughly so that it reaches the roots; then allow the soil to dry out (at least the first few top centimeters) before watering again.


Fertilizing and pruning

closeup of a bougainvillea flower

Dinesh Valke from Thanes/Wikimedia Commons

Fertilizing must be generous and regular during the summer: fertilize the plant weekly with an organic fertilizer rich in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium and enriched with iron and zinc. Do not use too much nitrogen, as this could inhibit blooming.

Finally, pruning can also stimulate flowering during summer and should be done following these important rules:

  • the ideal time for pruning is at the end of winter (or early spring);
  • remove dry branches to encourage new shoots to bloom;
  • tie up young branches to encourage the growth of new shoots.

By following this advice, your bougainvillea will looking stunning throughout the summer months!