How to Grow Bougainvillea in Australia
Bougainvilleas put on a showy display of vibrant colour throughout summer. These vigorous vines are drought tolerant and very hardy once established. Bougainvilleas prefer a tropical or warm temperate climate but will tolerate and recover from a few light touches of frost.
You can find bougainvillea growing in bright shades of red, pink, orange or purple for the real wow factor. But if you prefer softer colours look out for the white or golden forms.
If you don’t have space for a large, sprawling bougainvillea vine - keep an eye out for compact or dwarf varieties that can easily be kept clipped to a hedge or small shrub shape.
Top 5 steps to growing bougainvillea
- Choose a warm, 'full sun' spot
- Bougainvilleas prefer a free draining or sandy soil with a little Scotts Osmocote® Compost Premium Soil Improver mixed through the soil before planting.
- Provide sturdy support, trellis or archway for the bougainvillea to climb up as it grows.
- Keep its vigorous growth in check with a light prune after flowering
- Beware of the thorns! Bougainvilleas can have large thorns along the stems.
Essential shopping list for growing bougainvillea
- Bougainvillea plant
- Scotts Osmocote® Compost Premium Soil Improver
- Scotts Osmocote® Controlled Release Fertiliser: Roses, Gardenias, Azaleas & Camellias
- Garden Shovel
- If growing in pots, you’ll need Scotts Osmocote® Premium Potting Mix and a suitable pot or container
- Garden Shovel
- Thick gardening gloves
Bougainvilleas prefer free draining or sandy soil - if your soil isn’t free draining consider growing them in large pots instead. Before planting prepare the soil by mixing through a little Scotts Osmocote® Compost Premium Soil Improver and Scotts Osmocote® Controlled Release Fertiliser: Roses, Gardenias, Azaleas & Camellias.
To avoid disturbing your bougainvilleas roots after planting, make sure you’ve got the trellis, archway or support structure set up first.
Planting bougainvillea in the garden
Plant your bougainvillea into prepared soil - dig the hole twice as wide as the original pot and at the same depth. Put on gardening gloves to protect your hands and arms from any thorns. Gently remove the bougainvillea from the nursery pot and plant into the hole and backfill around the plant. Water in well. Mulch around the base of bougainvillea to retain moisture and suppress weeds, but keep the mulch away from the main stem.
Planting bougainvillea in pots
Bougainvillea can be grown in large pots or planters with good drainage, choose a pot that is about 3 times the size of the original nursery pot. You can always repot it to a larger one as it grows.
Position the pot up against the support structure, archway or trellis for the bougainvillea to climb as it grows.
Fill your pot or planter with Scotts Osmocote® Premium Potting Mix. Put on gardening gloves to protect your hands and arms from any thorns. Gently remove the bougainvillea from the nursery pot and plant it into the potting mix. Backfill around the plant and water in the well. Mulch over the surface of the potting mix to help retain moisture, but keep the mulch back from the plant's main stems.
Bougainvillea care & fertilising
Bougainvillea vines are very easygoing and won’t need anything more than an annual to fertilise in early spring with Scotts Osmocote® Controlled Release Fertiliser: Roses, Gardenias, Azaleas & Camellias to keep them happy.
A light prune after flowering will keep bougainvillea plant's growth bushy and dense. Any long, water shoot growth from the base of the plant can be cut off completely.
Common bougainvillea pests & diseases
Bougainvillea are generally very pest and disease-resistant - making them perfect for the beginner gardener!