How to Grow Bougainvillea Tree - Plant Care & Tips

By NorwichGardener Team   /   2024

Bougainvillea tree is a species of flowering plants native to South America. The plant is named after French admiral Louis Antoine de Bougainville, who was the first to bring the plant to Europe in the 18th century. The bougainvillea tree is a fast-growing, evergreen shrub or small tree that can reach a height of up to 10 feet. It has dark green, ovate leaves and clusters of brightly colored flowers that bloom throughout the year. The bougainvillea tree is popular as an ornamental plant in gardens and parks.

How to Grow Bougainvillea Tree - Plant Care & Tips

Also known as

  • Alternanthera ficoidea
  • Alternanthera pungens
  • Alternanthera spp
  • Iresine herbstii
  • Iresine lindenii

Basic info

  • The bougainvillea tree is an evergreen shrub that is native to South America.
  • The bougainvillea tree can grow to be up to 30 feet tall.
  • The bougainvillea tree has large, dark green leaves.
  • The bougainvillea tree has beautiful, brightly colored flowers that bloom all year long.
  • The bougainvillea tree is very easy to care for and is very drought tolerant.
  • The bougainvillea tree does not require much fertilizer or water once it is established.
  • The bougainvillea tree is very tolerant of salt and can even be grown near the ocean.
  • The bougainvillea tree is very popular as a landscape plant in many parts of the world.
  • The bougainvillea tree is considered to be an invasive species in some areas.
  • The bougainvillea tree is poisonous to humans and animals if ingested.

Related plant:
Bougainvillea Shrub

Planting Process

  1. For bougainvillea tree, first step is to find a location that gets at least six hours of sunlight each day. The tree likes warm weather and cannot tolerate temperatures below freezing.
  2. Prepare the planting area by removing all weeds and grasses. Dig a hole that is twice the width and depth of the tree’s root ball.
  3. Place the tree in the hole and fill in with soil. Tamp down around the tree to remove any air pockets.
  4. Water the tree deeply immediately after planting.
  5. Apply a layer of mulch around the tree, but not touching the trunk.
  6. Water the tree regularly, especially during dry periods.
  7. Fertilize the tree three times per year with a balanced fertilizer.
  8. Prune the tree as needed to shape and control growth.
  9. Watch for pests and diseases and treat accordingly.
  10. Enjoy the beauty of the bougainvillea tree!

Related plant:
Bougainvillea Bonsai

Considering the Soil

About soil condition, the bougainvillea tree prefers well-drained, sandy soil that is high in organic matter. The tree is not particular about pH and will do well in slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil. The tree does not tolerate salt and will not grow well in coastal areas.

About light

Similar to other plants, bougainvillea trees require sun to grow. They should be planted in an area that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. Bougainvillea trees are not tolerant of shade and will not flower if they do not receive enough sun. Full sun is best, but they will also grow in partial sun.

Good Temperature

The temperature condition is ideal for bougainvillea tree. It can withstand extreme heat and can tolerate frost. The tree grows best in full sun and can tolerate some shade. It is important to water the tree regularly to keep the soil moist.

Humidity Aspect

Ideal humidity condition for this plant is between 40 to 60%. If the humidity is too low, the leaves will drop and the plant will enter a state of dormancy. If the humidity is too high, the plant will become susceptible to root rot and fungal diseases.

The Fertilizer

Regarding fertilizer, this kind of plant requires a lot of watering and feeding. For best results, use a slow-release fertilizer that contains nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. The ideal fertilizer ratio for bougainvillea is 8-8-8. With regard to the roots, they must be well-drained and moist but not soggy. If the roots are too wet, they will rot. If they are too dry, the plant will wilt and die.

About light

Pruning a bougainvillea tree is important to maintain its shape and size. When pruning, be sure to remove any dead or diseased branches. Cut back any branches that are growing out of control. Trim back any branches that are crossing or rubbing against other branches.

About Propagating

Propagation is by cuttings taken from almost any part of the plant. Although it can be done at any time of year, it is best done in late spring or early summer. The cuttings should be about 4 to 6 inches long, with at least two nodes. Nodes are the points on the stem where leaves are attached. The bottom node should be buried in the soil.

Growth Rate

Usually, the plant growth rate is about 10 to 12 inches a year. Young trees growing in rich soil can grow even faster, reaching a height of 15 to 20 feet in just a few years. Once a bougainvillea tree is established, its growth rate slows down to about 2 to 3 inches per year.

The Problems

Common problems for this kind of plant are that the leaves may turn yellow and drop off, the stems may become soft and mushy, and the plant may become stunted in growth. All of these problems can be caused by too much water.

List to Know

  • If you live in a cold climate, it is important to choose a variety of bougainvillea tree that is hardy in your area.
  • Choose a sunny spot in your garden for planting the bougainvillea tree.
  • The soil should be well-drained and rich in organic matter.
  • Add a layer of mulch around the base of the plant to help retain moisture.
  • Water the plant regularly, especially during the hot summer months.
  • Apply a balanced fertilizer once a month during the growing season.
  • Prune the plant regularly to encourage new growth.
  • Protect the plant from strong winds by planting it in a sheltered spot.
  • Bougainvillea trees are susceptible to pests and diseases, so it is important to check the plant regularly for signs of problems.
  • If you are growing the plant in a pot, make sure the

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