Tropical bougainvillea dazzles our containers, hanging baskets and even garden beds in summer.
Bougainvillea comes in lots of colors—from the traditional hot pink to red, soft pink, apricot and even white. The colors that attract us are the bracts—modified leaves—like poinsettias. Its tiny white flowers inside the bracts attract butterflies.
Bougainvillea does best in containers for anyone cooler than USDA hardiness Zone 9, which is most of us.
Some gardeners in Zone 8 have success with landscape bougainvilleas, especially in a protected, warm microclimate.
Otherwise, keep them in containers and move to the garage, greenhouse, or even into the house near a sunny window. Do cut back when bringing indoors and water sparingly while its dormant.
In spring, remove dead branches and cut back to shape. Regular shearing promotes more flowers. Fertilize with a high nitrogen product.
Full sun is best and they’re very drought-tolerant, once established. When you water, give them a serious soaking. So, you don’t need to water containers every day: give them a deep drench and let them dry out.
Get John Dromgoole’s tips to keep your bougainvillea blooming.