Bougainvillea is a tropical plant that produces brilliant colorful flowers. In cooler climates, it is usually necessary to grow this plant in containers or pots. The soil for growing Bougainvillea should be loose, slightly acidic, and fertile. The soil should also be kept somewhat dry. These plants also usually prefer areas with full sun.
In very warm areas, Bougainvillea can be grown outdoors in a garden. In cool regions, however, this plant should be grown in large containers that are at least 5 gallons (19 liters). Terra cotta pots are usually best, since they help can help drain excess water from the soil.
The soil should also be very loose and well drained. Potting mix is usually recommended for growing Bougainvillea. It should have a low peat content, though. Peat helps retain moisture, which is not good for these types of plants.
Soil for growing Bougainvillea should also be slightly acidic. A pH between 5.5 and 6.5 is usually ideal. A soil pH test kit can be purchased in most home and garden stores.
Bougainvillea plants are also heavy feeders, so fertilizer is usually required. A fertilizer with nutrients like iron, magnesium, and zinc is usually required for showy flowers. Fertilizer with nitrogen and phosphorous is also recommended for these types of plants.
Growing Bougainvillea also requires very little water, since these plants thrive in very dry soil. The soil should be allowed to dry out when trying to grow Bougainvillea plants. Many experts recommend only watering them when the plant's leaves begin to droop slightly. Also, there should be no tray underneath the container, since it will allow excess moisture to remain in the soil.
Since they are tropical plants, a good amount of sunlight is usually required when growing Bougainvillea. The containers should be placed outside in an area with full sun in the warm months. As a general rule, the more sunshine that these plants get, the more abundant the blooms will be. In areas with cold winters, the containers can be brought inside a heated dwelling.
Pruning these plants is also recommended. Typically, many gardeners prune Bougainvillea plants heavily once a year, removing dead shoots and leaves. The plants can then be trimmed back as needed throughout the year. Pruning is often an essential part of growing Bougainvillea, since these plants only produce flowers on new growth.