Bougainvillea: Perfect low care outdoor ornamental plant

Bougainvillea: Perfect low care outdoor ornamental plant
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Bougainvillea has stunning bright colored petals which makes this plant a favorite to many. It has around 18 species and is mostly grown as an outdoor ornamental plant because of its attractive and colorful flower-like bracts.

Quick Details of Bougainvillea

Other Common NamesBougainvillea
TypeFlowering outdoor ornamental plant.
MaintenanceLow/ moderate
LightBright direct light
TemperatureCan survive the harsh climate
SoilAny well-drained potting soil. Grow best in soil than pots.
FertilizerAny house plant fertilizer
HabitatEurasia, Australia
Common DiseasesRoot rot, leaf spot, chlorosis
Scientific nameBougainvillea

Bougainvillea Buying Instructions

  • Bougainvillea can be planted for multiple reasons. Example: As a ornamental plant for your main gate, boundary making, bonsai making or to decorate your arch.
  • Choose plant size and numbers as per your need.
  • Stem of the plant should be strong and thick.
  • Choose color of the bracts as per your choice.

Overview of Bougainvillea

They are thorny bushes, climbers, or trees that can be evergreen or deciduous. They belong to the family of Nyctagiaceae and known for their inflorescence which consists of a colorful sepal-like bract surrounding the three waxy flowers.

They are a native of South America. The leaves are simple, ovate and alternate. The actual flowers are small and present inside the colorful bracts. The flowers are attractive with colours ranging from pink, red, orange and white. They are one of the most commonly grown outdoor plants and add beauty to the place. They can spread very fast and are easy to grow and maintain. The plant requires proper sunlight for the flowering.

Special features:

They are easy to grow outdoor ornamental plants. The actual flowers of the plant are small white coloured structures present inside the colourful bracts. The colourful bracts attract bees and hummingbirds.

Usage and Advantage of Bougainvillea

  • They are mostly used as an ornamental plant. Few species of bougainvillea are said to have medicinal properties and are used in tropical medicine.
  • Bougainvillea can be used for making attractive bonsai.

General Care for Bougainvillea

Soil: Any commercial planting soil is suitable for its growth. However, the plant can also be grown in-ground with minimal requirement of fertilizer.

Light: The plant requires at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. The development and the brightness of the color depending upon the amount of sunlight received.

Watering: The bougainvillea should be watered regularly. They prefer proper deep watering once in a while than shallow watering regularly. They are drought resistant and can survive for longer periods without water if grown in earth but provide proper water to plant if grown in pots.

Support/ training: The bougainvillea is not attaching or twining vines so support should be provided as it grows. The plant should be trained and proper and strong support should be provided to it while it grows.

Pruning: Bougainvillea is a climber and they can spread all along with the place. A small stem is enough to fill a space or fence full of bougainvillea. The plant can be pruned according to the shape in which it should be growing. The best time to prune is in winters and during the blooming cycle. Pruning of bougainvillea helps in new growth and increases the flowering.

Fertilizer: The bougainvillea does not require any supply of fertilizer. However, it would be useful to add any house plant fertilizer during the time of planting/ transplanting and ones in a year before the summer starts.

Pests and other problems for Bougainvillea

Some of the commonly attacked pests are the aphids. The others include bougainvillea looper caterpillar and leafcutter bees. They are not usually attacked by any disease-causing microorganisms.

Control: Use of neem oil or soap water or any insecticides.

Leaf spot:

Bougainvillea is vulnerable to fungal and bacterial leaf spot. The reddish-brown spots that appear on the leaves typically begin with new foliage and spread to give a rusty look to the bougainvillea. Leaf spot lesions normally develop, expand, and eventually obstruct the growth of the plant, or cause the bougainvillea to lose its leaves.


By keeping the leaves and foliage dry, leaf spots can be controlled. Pruning helps to boost air circulation and keep branches growing together. Leaves and branches should be removed and destroyed at the first sign of infection, to prevent the spread of the infection. The use of fungicides also helps reduce diseases.


Chlorosis causes yellowing on the growth of new or mature plants, usually due to an iron or magnesium deficiency. Chlorosis may also pose a secondary root rot issue. The disease can attack the leaves and/or the roots of the plant. Symptoms include dark branches with light green leaves and yellow foliage.


 By increasing soil acidity with iron sulfate or aluminum sulfate, or by applying a micronutrient blend to plants, it can be controlled.

Root rot:

Root rot can cause chlorosis, dieback from the plants, stunted growth, and wilting. Fungi such as Rhizoctonia, Pythium, or Phytophthora usually cause the disease. The fungus infects the roots of bougainvillea and causes decay and malfunction.


Get rid of infected plants and destroy them. Prevent the root rot in hard, poorly drained soil by not overwatering them. Waterlogged conditions increase the likelihood of root rot developing on plants. Proper plant care and the application of a broad spectrum fungicide during planting can minimize infection chances.

Propagation of Bougainvillea

The propagation of bougainvillea takes place through stem cutting. Cut 6-8 inches from the pre-existing stem of a healthy plant. Coat one end of the stem cutting with root hormone and then plant it into a pot or on the ground.

reema shaju

reema shaju

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