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Planting a Bougainvillea In The Ground (Complete Plant Guide)


Bougainvillea is a shrub native to South America that adapts very well to the Mediterranean climate. Of the Nyctaginaceae family, the bougainvillea is a shrub that enjoys the sunshine and whose foliage is evergreen. Its flowering lasts from May to November. It is one of the fragrant climbing plants that embellish our gardens, our pergolas, our facades.


It brightens up our gardens with its abundant flowering in bright colors. Highlight it by placing it near a low wall, against a facade or in a patio.


Bougainvillea planting

The plantation of the bougainvillea is an important stage because it is it which will determine the recovery, the bloom and the good growth of your plant.

When to plant bougainvillea

Field planting is done in spring or early fall.


Where to plant bougainvillea


Provide a warm and sunny location, sheltered from cold winds. If you grow it inside the house or on a veranda, place it just behind glass for maximum light.



Bougainvillea thrives in deeply loosened, fertile and well-drained soil because it fears excess moisture.


Bougainvillea outdoors

Bougainvillea tolerates cultivation in the open ground only in regions with mild winters. It does not resist frost.

If you live in the Mediterranean region, plant it preferably in spring in light soil.

  • The ideal is a mixture of garden soil, loam and sand.
  • Bougainvillea should be planted in a warm place and should be brought in during the winter if it freezes in your area.
  • Therefore, choose a place sheltered from the wind and preferably at the foot of a support to make it climb.


How to plant a bougainvillea in the ground

First of all, loosen the soil thoroughly. Bring in gravel or clay balls to lighten it if it is compact in nature. Mix with a little organic manure to support rooting in the first year.

Install the root ball so that it is flush with the soil level and direct the stems towards their support. Tamp them if necessary. Finally, water copiously.


The maintenance of the bougainvillea in the field

Less watering for more flowers

It tolerates drought. It is a plant of dry ground, the less it is watered, the more it blooms, but its growth is reduced. The best? Regular watering during the growing period. Let the topsoil dry between waterings. In winter, reduce watering.


How to protect a bougainvillea in winter

Protect the plants well in the first years. The little secret: the wool blanket for cold nights to install at the foot of the plant in the ground and to remove in the morning (or a small wool felt around the pot). You can add a winter fleece if there is a risk of frost.


How to repot a bougainvillea

You can repot your bougainvillea regularly to promote its good development. Proceed in April-May, choosing a container a few centimeters larger than the previous one.


Why is my bougainvillea losing its leaves?

During the winter period, it is common for the bougainvillea to lose its leaves or part of them. If your leaves turn yellow, soften and eventually fall off, it’s probably an excess of water! In pots, the soil should be allowed to dry on the surface between waterings. In the open ground, water only the first two years. However, it can also be a lack of light or even a lack of water. If this happens, don’t panic, prune at the end of winter, the foliage will come back in spring.


Bougainvillea maintenance by season

Bougainvillea in spring

It’s time to bring your bougainvillea out of its vegetative rest by resuming regular watering.

As soon as the frosts are over, you will be able to bring it out again.


Bougainvillea in summer

Bring regularly, approximately every 15 days, a liquid fertilizer for flowering plants to stimulate the flowering.

Reduce the fertilizer supply at the end of summer to stop completely at the beginning of autumn.

Obtain a spectacular bloom with a special bougainvillea fertilizer.


Bougainvillea in winter

If you live further north and it freezes in your area, it will have to be potted to be brought in and put out of frost in the winter.

To do this, choose an unheated room where the temperature does not go below 8-10° C.

  • They like greenhouses or unheated verandas that give maximum brightness.

Leaves may fall in winter after a cold spell.

This does not necessarily condemn your shrub because it is even quite common.

  • On the watering side, water only when the soil is thoroughly dry.


Bougainvillea pruning

Pruning bougainvillea consists mainly in limiting their expansion or keeping their ball or bush shape if they are planted in a hedge. Pruning is done at the end of winter for those in the open ground.


Prune after flowering the potted bougainvilleas wintered indoors. Indeed, sheltered from the cold, they continue to bloom for a few more weeks. It would be a pity not to take advantage of this.


Bougainvillea diseases

The bougainvillea is a rather resistant plant, especially when it can grow outside.

In inside it needs to find the natural conditions of culture to avoid dying out.


A regular fogging of the foliage with non-limestone water makes it possible to bring the ambient moisture which it needs.


If the leaves turn brown and end up rolled up, it is certainly an aphid attack.

If the leaves turn yellow, it is certainly an attack of scale insects.



Bougainvillea can be planted in the ground in warm and frost-free regions.

In slightly colder regions, some bougainvilleas can be planted in a well exposed and sheltered location with optimal conditions.  The majority of varieties are frost resistant and will not tolerate temperatures below 32°F.


A good maintenance and a good size improve durably the growth and the bloom of this climbing plant. Bougainvillea can be planted in spring, in warm and frost-free areas and in well drained soil. If you do not live in a Mediterranean area, you can plant your bougainvillea in a pot so that you can bring it indoors before the first frosts.

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