Bougainvilleas are pretty flowering plants that originate from Brazil, and belong to the Nyctaginaceae family. They're also called paper flowers, since they have that papery texture to it, resembling paper cutouts that are made to look like bracts (colored leaves). My mom used to love this plant and would tend to them everyday in her little garden out on our porch back home. She'd always bustle about, watering them, and making sure they were in bloom, with the bracts blushing pink during the scorching summer days.
It can fall into flowing vines, or stay upright in a scattered array of brightly colored bracts, with white small flowers that aren't as pretty as what encases them; these come in rich colors that are full in vibrancy. They thrive in tropical climates, and need a lot of heat and sun to fuel their growth rate. In order to help them bloom all year round, one has to supply the plant with a good fertilizer, that will help it stay alive and blossom well through the seasons. Bougainvillea care is not that hard to partake in, since the care you give this plant is something you will get accustomed to in no time.
Indoor Bougainvillea Care
If you'd like to see these plants in full bloom you'll need to follow these plant care instructions right down to the tee.
If you'd like to keep your plant indoors, then you need to carry this out into an area with ample sunlight, and expose it for a time frame of at least 5 hours. Position it in such a way that it gets a generous amount of exposure in the sun. If you'd like to see it bloom to its maximum, then how long you keep this plant exposed to the sun will play a huge role. The best way to keep these plants blossoming all year round, is to place them at all times in direct sunlight, like out on the porch or in an open garden that is facing a good expansive area where sunlight filters in directly with no obstructions.
Soil and Water Requirements
The bougainvillea plant will need good quality soil, that is fertile in composition and well-drained. Containers placed under the base of the pot, shouldn't be filled with water, but only moistened enough to cancel out the chances of the plant going dry. You can follow the seasons by adding more water to your plant during the summers, and cut down on it during the winters, since they will absorb less during this time of year. Keep an eye out on your plants to eliminate excess wilting. If you notice that the plant is going to wilt soon, give it a good helping of water to let it regain some life.
Be careful about visitors, like aphids and caterpillars attacking your plant, since if the soil is too wet, these can ruin your plants and leave you with a half-eaten bougainvillea. When using a fertilizer, it is important to make sure that it is abundant in micronutrients and phosphorus. Just make certain that you constantly supply the plant with fertilizer to help it grow the right way; be careful that you don't over-fertilize your plant. Use the fertilizer as the instructions dictate, and get the kind that has an additional amount of magnesium and iron added to it as well.
Bougainvillea Care and Pruning
Pruning is an important part of taking care of your plant, and can be done during any period of the year. If you're planning to move your plant indoors, instead of keeping it outside, like say during the winters, then you need to give it a thorough pruning job in order to bring down its growth rate. If you're looking for a more neat and trimmed look, then light pruning is what you need to go by, snipping whatever extra growth is noticeable. When pruning, don't pinch the tip of the stem out if you want a bare stem intact, since bougainvillea cultivars will sprout out new stems from leaf buds just below where the cut was made.
If you live in frigid regions that are prone to extremely chilly climatic conditions, then these plants can easily get damaged with frost. The right temperatures to keep these plants going are between 70° F to 86° F on warm days, and on chilly nights about 61° F to 70° F. If kept in warm areas, the plant will do just fine, but won't do well in excess frost conditions.
Caring for a bougainvillea is not a hard a process to practice, since those who have a love for plants can do quite well if they take it upon themselves to get into gardening. Just remember these important plant care tips and you'll have yourself one lovely bougainvillea.