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This Week at TLC

Tips of the Month

TLC Flagship Garden Center - Memorial

105 W. Memorial Road
Oklahoma City, OK 73114

(405) 751-0630

Monday-Saturday | 9am to 6pm
Sunday | 11am to 6pm

TLC Northwest

8208 Northwest Expressway
Oklahoma City, OK 73162

(405) 720-0091

Monday-Saturday | 9am to 6pm
Sunday | 11am to 6pm

Bougainvillea Care

Turbocharge Your Flowering Machine

Bougainvilleas are flowering machines. You can’t beat them for an explosion of color.


  1. Place in full sun.
  2. Water a couple of times a week, allowing the plant to dry out between waterings.
  3. Feed regularly and heavily every 2-3 weeks during and after the bloom cycle
  4. Prune aggressively to maintain the desired shape.
  5. Walk away and ignore it.

Enjoy the blooms, but always remember this is not a “froo-froo” plant. It’s a weed!

Detailed Care Instructions

  1. Place Bougainvilleas in a full sun, wind protected area. As long as the temps do not reach 32 degrees or lower, it is perfectly fine to leave Bougainvilleas outside. Routinely moving Bougainvilleas between indoor and outdoor environments confuses the plant, which may cause it to react by prematurely dropping bracts/blooms and foliage as it reverts to a self-preservation mode.
  2. Bougainvilleas are drought tolerant and should not require watering more than twice a week. Excessive watering will result in immediate and premature bloom drop. When you see a Bougainvillea leaf begin to curl, the plant has just spoken: “Please give me a drink.”
  3. Under ideal growing conditions, you can expect a bloom cycle of 4 to 6 weeks, and in some cases, even longer.
  4. Bougainvillea like to be root bound. They can be happy in a container for several years before needing to be re-potted.
  5. When the Bougainvillea concludes its bloom cycle and drops its blooms, it should be pruned immediately. Many people are afraid to seriously prune Bougainvilleas, which over time causes them to lose shape. Don’t be afraid to cut it. Bougainvilleas bloom on new wood. The more pruning cuts, the more bud, and ultimately the more blooms that will cluster.
  6. After pruning, give the plant a healthy dose of Osmocote Plant Food, which is a well-balanced time-released fertilizer that will provide 6 months of continuous feeding. Water the fertilizer in.
  7. Two to three weeks later, feed the Bougainvillea a high phosphorous, bloom boosting type of fertilizer, such as Scotts Super Bloom. Bougainvilleas are heavy eaters, so give them a hearty dose. Continue the 2–3-week feedings.
  8. Apply one tablespoon of Epsom salts in a gallon of water every three weeks. It will take approximately 4-5 weeks to re-enter the next blooming cycle.
  9. Keep in mind that when any of the fertilization treatments are administered, the watering-in process counts as one of the twice a week waterings.

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