• It’s not the flowers that make this plant so colourful, it’s actually the magenta bracts. The flowers are just tiny and white. Have a closer look!
  • The bracts can be seen in all shades of pink and purple, and also red, yellow, white, salmon and orange.
  • This is Grenada's national flower.
  • Bougainvillea has been successfully grown outside in very sheltered areas in the UK .

Where it grows

Native to the tropical and sub-tropical regions of Central and South America but now cultivated in warm climes the world over. Bougainvillea requires a fair amount of water and high-fertility soil.

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bougainvilla sticks in Tucson, Az

Last year I bought 5 of these plants 2 ft staked in pots. I prepared the soil with compost, lime and gypsum twice pot height and width. These plants had bracts and fading leaves in October. We had several frost nights. They are spaced by a hurricane fence. I watered diligently, with a shallow 'bowl' in the dirt around each plant. They are still just sticks with no foliage and it's late July. O got some 'Superthrive' hormones. Should I dig them up and soak the roots, mix up as directed and water, or just chuck them and start over? I am on a fixed budget and hate to waste anything. Thx!
Submitted by enuffsaid on

Sticks in Tucson

I hope I am not to late leaving you a reply, but the bougainvilla do not like there roots messed with at all. In fact, when you plant them, you should just cut the pot so the roots can get out and plant the entire thing. If your sticks are still green, them give them a chance, you may have put them into shock. Also, they like to be well watered, but you should let the soil dry completely before each watering, and don't over fertilize. Good luck, they are really beautiful when they get going.
Submitted by tropicplantman on

dead looking plants

I live in England and have grown bougainvilleas as houseplants for years. Our winters are too cold to plant them outside. Last year one with deep magenta bracts gradually lost its leaves and became just a stick. Luckily I put it to one side and forgot about it. It was dormant for 9 months. In June this year little green leaves appeared and it grew until now it is about 5 feet high and about 4 feet wide. But the strangest thing is it now has white bracts. Don't give up on your plants.
Submitted by marilyn on

So sorry – it definitely

eden project's picture
So sorry – it definitely sounds like these plants are dead. Bougainvillea just don’t survive frost. Very rarely, a bougainvillea plant may be seen outside in the UK in a very sheltered location (and usually under in a canopy) in the warmest areas of London and Cornwall. Young small plants are particularly vulnerable too. Sorry. Being on a fixed budget you may which to try growing some annual climbers from seed in the spring, if so, you could try morning glory (Ipomoea), Cup-and-saucer-vine (Cobaea scandens) and Sweet peas (Lathyrus). Otherwise, the autumn is an excellent time to plant outdoor plants including climbers as the ground is warm the roots can get established – ready for the plants to romp away in the spring.
Submitted by eden project on

Oh dear - you really should

Oh dear - you really should not have added lime to bougainvillia! They need slightly acidic soil similar to citrus soil. With an alkaline mix in the soil they may not be able to absorb iron or other micronutrients. You may be able to save them by watering with rain water and iron rich fertiliser.
Submitted by gardengal on

Plant is not blooming

I have 2 plants that have grown very tall and has bright green leaves but has not bloomed since I planted them. I have fertilized them but still no blooms. What do I need to do now?
Submitted by Pat Randall on

my plant is 6 years old and , has nof lowers

I have pruned very short in 12-28-12
Submitted by Aurora Schaaf on

Boganvillas in Baskets

The leaves look like bugs have eaten them and I have been watering. The temperature has been about 99 degrees. They have no blumes on them. What should I do to make this pretty?
Submitted by Janna Christen on

Plant not Blooming

Mine is the same at Pat Randall's. Plant is beautiful, healthy green, very large. It bloomed in May all the blooms fell off and has not bloomed since? Help.
Submitted by Kathy Harrison on

Plant not blooming

Give them a chance, for some reason, they take a break from time to time to grow, and while they are maturing, they don't always bloom. But when they start, they will have more blooms than folage.
Submitted by southernflowerguy on

Colour change

I have 6 year old bougainvillaea which had deep magenta bracts. It was dormant for 9 months, just a stick, then began to come to life again. But now it has white bracts. Is this usual? None of my other various colour bougainvelleas have changed in this way
Submitted by Marilyn on

white bracts on bougainvillea

why not try some tomato feed which has a high potash content - one teaspoon in 2 pints of water once a week in the growing season
Submitted by dorothy -scotland on


Submitted by KEN on

When to trim

I have bougainvillea (barbara karst) plants in full bloom and would like to trim them. This is the hight of our hot season(August) in Palm Springs with current monsoonal weather.
Submitted by Joe on

Poorly Bougainvillea

Living in Cyprus, a (quite twiggy) plant in a large pot was given to us by neighbours moving house. Not too bad this spring, but dried up and stick-like from May onwards. It has an irrigation watering system, topped up manually. Question - how much water should we give it and what sort of food should it be receiving? And is there a possibility that severe pruning might thicken it up for S/S 2013?
Submitted by Jean on

How to maitain bougainvillea in winter outside.

I have hot pink bougainvillea in pot outside.I planted it only the begin of the summer. now it is about 3 feet tall. I live in Montreal, Canada and winter is very cold here . My question is how can I keep this plant alive outside. I saw people have them plant outside and every year they bloom beautifully. But I do not know how they Maintain them. Can you give me some advise. I appreciate it
Submitted by Maryam on

What should I do with my Bougainvillea through the winter?

I live in Colorado. And the winters can be rough on plants. I live in a condo that doesn't get much light inside. I love my bougainvillea and I would love to have it next spring and summer. What would be the best way to keep it alive and keep it blooming? Please help I don't have much of a green thumb!
Submitted by Melanie on


can you tell me more about this plant
Submitted by bobby on