Growing Bougainvillea Indoors – A Full Guide

Introduction: Hello Gardeners, we are here today with an excellent information of Growing Bougainvillea Indoors, Propagation, Planting and Care. Bougainvillea plant is a tropical vine that blooms almost throughout the year making a light show. Bougainvilleas also make good container plants which can be grown either indoors or outdoors. But you have to know the needs of the plant so that Bougainvillea plant is thriving and is lushly producing abundant blooms for which it is famous for.

It is a hardy tropical vine that grows in areas where winter temperatures remain 30°F. The plant generally produces three rounds of vibrant blooms in spring, summer, and autumn.

A step by step guide to Growing Bougainvillea indoors

You should put Bougainvillea in a place where it will receive at least 6 hours of direct sunlight every day and you can put it on a sunlit porch or at a south-facing window if kept indoors. The Bougainvillea plant is grown in small pots or hanging baskets or ground as a hedge or a bush or a vine that can be climbed up a trellis or vertically on a wall to have a colorful display of its bracts and flowers.

This plant can be propagated from seeds, stem cuttings, and layering. The propagation of Bougainvillea from seeds is very difficult as compared to growing it from cuttings. Bougainvillea varieties are most suitable for growing in containers.

Bougainvillea Planting ar Home.
Bougainvillea Planting ar Home.

Bougainvillea varieties growing indoors

Several Bougainvillea plant varieties are suitable for growing in containers. For example;

There are hundreds of varieties of Bougainvillea plants. Select a variety based on plant size and flower color.

  • For thorn, fewer Bougainvillea varieties try ‘Miss Alice’ (white) and ‘Singapore Pink’.
  • For dwarf Bougainvillea, varieties try ‘Helen Johnson’ (copper), ‘Fantasy Red’ (variegated) and ‘James Walker’ (orange).
  • For semi-dwarf varieties, try ‘Vera Deep Purple’. And for large shrubs look for ‘Yellow Glory’ and ‘Juanita Hatten’ (red).
  • “Miss Alice” is a shrubby, easily pruned with white blooms.
  • “Bambino Baby Sophia,” which provides orange blooms, tops out at 5 feet.
  • If you like pink, select “Rosenka” which you can prune to maintain container size.
  • Red varieties suitable for container growing include “La Jolla” or “Crimson Jewel.” “Raspberry Ice” is another variety appropriate for a container or hanging basket. If purple is a favorite color, “Vera Deep Purple” is a good choice. 

The size of the container for Bougainvillea

Begin with the smallest pot as Bougainvillea plant do well if its roots are pot-bound. Re-pot into larger pot sizes gradually, from a plant in a 6 to the 9-inch pot and so on. Remember, the root system needs time to produce into each new pot, 2-3 years.

The pot requirement for growing Bougainvillea plant

Bougainvillea plants can be grown in plastic or Terra cotta pots, hanging baskets lined with sphagnum moss, planter boxes and concrete planters, even old laundry baskets will serve the purpose.

The Bougainvillea grown in a container having an adequate number of holes at its bottom to provide drainage is the best. Use broken pieces of clay pots or Styrofoam packing material to line the bottom of the container for good drainage.

Bougainvillea plant does not require large pots. If you see the roots coming out from the bottom, then either re-pot in the next larger size container or take out the plant and trim the smaller roots and re-pot in the same pot or container.

To shape the Bougainvillea plant in the pot, you can put a trellis in the pot. You can put the trellis at the center while planting the plant without disturbing the roots. If the Bougainvillea plant is already grown, then do not put the trellis at the center, instead put it at a distance from the center, maybe at the rim of the pot.

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The soil requirement for growing Bougainvillea indoors

  • Bougainvillea loves well-drained yet moisture-retentive soil to maintain it’s extremely fine and tender root system.
  • Add well-decomposed compost to the soil to make it well-draining. Bougainvillea plant does best with a soil pH of 5.5-6.5.

Propagation of Bougainvillea cuttings

The easiest way of Bougainvillea propagation methods is to grow it from cuttings and it can be done at any time of the year. To take a cutting from Bougainvillea, look for softwood. This is a branch of the plant that isn’t brand new, but isn’t established and overly woody, either.

Carefully cut a length of softwood that is 4 to 5 inches long and has 4 to 6 nodes on it. Nodes are the spots on the branch that either have sprouted smaller branches or have buds that will sprout soon. If you want, you can dip the end of the plant cutting in root hormone. Remove any leaves from the cutting and insert it upright in a combination of one part perlite and one part peat. Sink it 1 or 2 inches into the growing medium. Maintain the pot very warm. Water and spray cutting now and again, but don’t let it get overly wet.

Bougainvillea propagation by layering method

Layering is another process for propagating bougainvilleas. Try layering when the Bougainvillea plant is growing, in spring.

Simply bend a growing stem down to the ground in the pot. Injure (a minor cut) the stem near a node, about 6 to 10 inches from the end and bury the injured part in soil, keeping the end part out of the soil. You can place a small stone there to keep the stem in soil and keep on watering when the soil dries out.

Check after 3 to 4 months to see if roots have developed. You can cut the stem from the parent Bougainvillea plant and plant it in a new position.

Propagating Bougainvillea from Seeds

Propagating Bougainvillea seeds is less common, but still, a decent method to go about the propagation of bougainvillea. In the autumn, bougainvillea might form seed pods inside the tiny white flower in its center.

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The planting process of growing Bougainvillea indoors

  • Bougainvillea performs well in a container where its roots are slightly restricted. When the Bougainvillea plant is large enough for repotting, move it to a container only one size larger. Use a regular potting soil without a high level of peat moss; too much peat retains moisture and may affect in root rot. Any container used for growing Bougainvillea plants must have at least one drainage hole. Install a trellis or maintain at planting time; installing one later may damage the roots.
  • When you are placing a Bougainvillea pot in the garden, do not maintain the container directly on top of the ground because the roots of the Bougainvillea plant will grow out the drainage holes. The source will go into the soil and locate the plant there. Therefore, put a trash container under the pot, or you can configure the Bougainvillea pot on an elevated surface, such as bricks or crate.
  • For the Bougainvillea container plant, you can feed a mix of water-soluble fertilizer. Add fertilizer when you water the plant.
  • The Bougainvillea needs to branch and encourage new growth. For that, you must pinch the soft tips of the Bougainvillea every month when it is actively growing.
  • Always clean a pair of clippers with a disinfectant before using them. You can use rubbing alcohol and always prune the Bougainvillea plant after it has finished blooming.
  • If you bring your potted Bougainvillea indoors, it might cease blooming if it does not obtain full sun. You can trim to Bougainvillea shape or thin it as you want. You can also prune it backless or aggressively or cut back to the bottom of the container.
  • Take the Bougainvillea plant pot out of the soil and then be careful to handle the roots so you do not damage them.
  • Plant it again in the larger sized pot or container, with ample drainage holes. And use a potting medium that drains well and does not hold on to moisture. A soilless mix works well for Bougainvillea pot care.

How and when to water Bougainvillea plants

  • Water sparingly as Bougainvillea plants produce too much leaf growth in place of flowers with too much water.
  • Over-watering can cause rot and weakening of the Bougainvillea plant.
  • If the plant receives too much water when the small buds appear from new growth, the bud will drop off and in its place, a thorn will increase.
  • To induce flowering, allow the Bougainvillea plant to dry and wilt for a few hours, and then water.

The fertilize requirement for growing Bougainvillea indoors

Fertilize regularly and feed the plant a fertilizer every few months to keep the flowers blooming. Fertilizing too frequently can cause the plant to produce quite vigorously, so if you find that it’s getting too large, cut back on fertilizer.

Most Bougainvillea gardeners go with a 1:1:1 or a 2:1:2 fertilizers for regular fertilizing, not the high-phosphate fertilizer used at planting time. Organic or slow-release fertilizers are work best.

How to care Bougainvillea plants

  • The Bougainvillea plant care is very easy, even if the plant is growing in a pot.
  • Water a newly planted Bougainvillea plant frequently to keep the soil moist. Once the Bougainvillea plant is established, it blooms best if the soil is a little on the dry side.
  • Water the plant until liquid drips through the drainage hole, and then don’t water again until the potting mixture feels slightly dry. However, don’t allow the soil to become entirely dry because a water-stressed plant won’t bloom. Water the plant instantly if it looks wilted.
  • Bougainvillea is a heavy feeder and requires regular fertilization to generate blooms throughout the growing season.
  • You can use a water-soluble fertilizer mixed at half strength every 7 to 14 days, or apply a slow-release fertilizer in spring and midsummer.

Pests and disease of Bougainvillea plants

Bougainvillea is a fairly easy-care plant, but a few pests sometimes appear. Remove any bugs and damaged leaves when you have seen them, and look for symptoms that the plant has problems;

  • A sooty-looking mold may mean mealybugs are in the Bougainvillea plant. Remove any bugs you see with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol, or care for the plant with insecticidal soap as directed on the package.
  • Yellow spots on leaves or dropped leaves are some signs of scales. Insecticidal soap or horticultural oil mainly used as directed on the package will rid the plant of scales.
  • Wilted leaves or discolored leaves indicate aphids. You may see masses of the tiny green bugs on stems or leaves. Hose off the bugs with a strong spray from a hose, or wipe them off gently with a cotton swab.

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