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5+ Best Tricks to Keep Flowering Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea blooms three times a year with diverse brightly colored modified leaves called bracts.

Generally, Bougainvillea is a perennial plant that flowers from May to December, lasting for about a month. Provide 6 hours of direct sunlight, weekly watering, high potash fertilizer, about 50% humidity, and a temperature of 60-95°F to encourage its blooming.

Remember that you must discourage the growth of new leaves to induce blooming.

So, follow this article till the end for quick and failproof tips to see your Bougainvillea flowering all year long.

How do you Keep Bougainvillea Blooming?

Barbara karst, the most popular variety of Bougainvillea, blooms throughout the year, even in harsh conditions.

However, your Bougainvillea won’t produce any bracts until it reaches 2-3 years of maturity.

If not the age, you must practice the following efforts to your schedules. 

1. Provide Proper Sunlight

Bougainvillea needs at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily for perfect blooms.

Moreover, you must place it in at least 12 hours of continuous darkness to make it flower.

bougainvilla flowers grown in pot
Bougainvillea may grow under partial shade but needs direct light when flowering.

But, less than 5 hours of sunlight will increase vegetative growth and discourage Bougainvillea flowering.

Tips to Maintain Proper Light Conditions

  • Plant your Bougainvillea in a sunny spot or on the south-facing window only for a few hours. 
  • Avoid any artificial light at night to provide a good amount of darkness. 
  • Growing Bougainvillea in the pot will enable frequent shifting to light or dark conditions as required.
Remember not to extend direct sunlight more than 12 hours as the plant prefers shorter day lengths.

2. Water Only When Needed

Bougainvillea prefers dry conditions and doesn’t require much watering to thrive and flower.

Water it once a week during summer and every 3-4 weeks during winter to make it bloom.

Temporary drought induces Bougainvillea flowering, but extended dryness cause gradual leaf and flower fall or no bloom.

However, overwatering will destroy the root system and discourage flowering.

You must maintain at least 50% humidity for good amounts of bloom in your Bougainvillea. 

Tips to Water Properly 

  • Water the plant only when the soil is top 2 inches dry.
  • Discard the excess water in the pot, and never let the soil dry out completely.
  • Use a moisture meter for proper watering, and never keep your plant on a saucer.
  • Use rain or distilled water at room temperature. 
Expert Tip: Always use Terracotta pots with enough drainage holes if you grow Bougainvillea indoors. 

3.  Maintain a Warm Temperature

As a tropical plant, Bougainvillea prefers warm temperatures and hardiness zone 9-11.

So, Bougainvillea may need a temperature between 60 and 95°F to enjoy its bloom all year round.

Bougainvillea Flower
Provide this flower with optimal temperature and it will provide you with bloom all year long.

However, if the temperature is cooler, you can enjoy this plant as an annual.

Excessive temperatures cause flowers to fall with stunted growth, and too low temperatures may cause flowers to wilt with extreme plant damage. 

Tips to Maintain Proper Temperature

  • Always place your potted Bougainvillea in a south-facing window for a warm temperature.
  • Move your plants inside during freezing winter.
  • Use frost blankets to protect them from cold during winter.
  • Try mulching up to 3 inches around the plant base for outdoor Bougainvillea.
  • Never place your Bougainvillea near cold drafts, heaters, and vents.
Bougainvillea can’t tolerate if the temperature exceeds 100°F and declines below 40°F.

4. Offer Proper Fertilization

Feed your Bougainvillea with a phosphorous, potassium, and low nitrogen fertilizer to encourage flowering.

If you have a young Bougainvillea, apply high nitrogen fertilizer to stimulate growth, but once it grows mature, provide it with high potassium to encourage blooming.

Too low fertilizer will cause stunted growth, no or very low flowering, and dull flowers.

You can fertilize your Bougainvillea twice a month from early spring to mid-summer but avoid feeding them in winter.

Tips for Fertilizing Properly

  • Use a specialized Bougainvillea bloom booster or a Hibiscus fertilizer to boost the blooming.
  • Always water the plant before applying any fertilizers.
  • Use fertilizer with iron to induce a bright color.
  • Avoid excessive fertilizers and never apply fertilizers on dry soil.
You can also use homemade fertilizers like eggshells, compost, coffee grounds, etc.

5. Prune at the Right Time

For a good amount of flowers, you must prune your Bougainvillea in late winter or early monsoon.

Also, cutting back your Bougainvillea during the mid-season (summer) will bless you with immense blooms.

However, if you trim the plants during early fall, your plants may produce the least flowers during winter.

Pruned Bougenvillea plant
Prune your Bougainvillea plant only after the end of the blooms.

Shearing helps to discard plant damage and transfer energy used for vegetative growth to produce flowers.

 Tips to Prune Bougainvillea

  • Pinch half an inch of the stem to induce the new branch after the blooming ends.
  • Discard last year’s leaves and shoots without cutting off the branches with sterilized tools.
  • Also, cut off the damaged and infected parts.
  • Don’t prune more than 25% of the total mass. 
Deadheading the spent and brown flowers can help get the Bougainvillea plants new blooms. 

6. Choose the Appropriate Soil Type

Bougainvillea can handle any well-draining soil as they have thin roots.

However, they thrive best in well-aerated, sandy soil with a pH between 5.5-6.5.

You can use regular potting mix but avoid soil with a lot of peat to prevent root rot.

Moreover, you can also grow them in the soil-free growing media with good air circulation for disease-free plants.

Tips for Changing the Potting Mix or Soil

  • Water the plant a night before plucking out Bougainvillea from the pot.
  • Mix 4 parts of rotten pine bark, 3 parts of peat moss, and 2 parts of coarse perlite to make a fresh potting mix.
  • If you are repotting, get a pot 2 inches larger than the old one and fill 1/3 of the pot with the potting mix.
  • Place the Bougainvillea plant in the center of the pot and fill the remaining half too.
  • Press the soil gently and keep it moist.  

From Editorial Team

Grow Bougainvillea as a Bonsai!

You can make your indoor space incredible by growing 1-36 inches of Bougainvillea as a bonsai tree.

During the growing season, cut back the stems leaving only 2-3 leaves on each branch to avoid it being a tangled bush.