Bougainvillea care

Bougainvillea, also referred to as Paper flower is a native of Brazil and belongs to the Nyctaginaceae family. This tropical climber is ideal for hanging baskets and grown in containers where it can cascade its vibrant blooming vines. The flower is unremarkable compared to the brightly colored, paper-like bracts that surround the flower. 

Bougainvillea grows in a tropical climate. They thrive in full sun and heat and bloom best when kept slightly stressed and on the dry side. They are heavy feeders and should be fed regularily with 1/2 strenght fertilizer to keep them blooming all season long.


Bougainvillea are tropical plants hardy in zone 8-10. It will tolerate temperatures as cool as 30-40 degrees for a short time  but will need protection or it can freeze and die.

There are two ways to winterover your bougainvillea indoors

1. Treat it like a houseplant.

Keep it in the coolest, brightestroom in the house (east or north window) with temperatures between 50-60 degrees. If it gets too warm, it will grow but look lanky and pale because of insufficient sunlight. Water less during the winter allowing the soil to dry out between watering and don’t fertilize. You can prune the plant to make it more manageable but major pruning should be done in the spring before new growth starts. It may drop its leaves during this time but the idea is to keep the plant alive till spring.

2. Force it into dormancy.

Bougainvillea can be stored in a basement, garage or dark closet at temperatures above freezing (32F) . Reduce watering, cut back it just enough to make it manageable. With no light and water, the plant will drop all its leaves and go dormant. Check the soil periodically during the winter, watering it a few times just to keep it from completely drying out.  Don’t fertilize during this time.  In early spring, repot the plant in fresh soil, water thoroughly and bring it to filtered light.