Bougainvillea – Care and Growth. Not Just for the Patio Anymore

Published May 10, 2006

What would a summer patio be without at least one beautiful Bougainvillea? However, have you ever wondered if it would be possible to bring this beautiful plant indoors to be enjoyed the rest of the year? The answer to this question is definitely “yes”. This plant is considered to be an exotic houseplant and as such can be an interesting and beautiful addition to any home.

Bougainvillea, also known as Bougainvillea spectabilis, is a woody vine with spikes. This exotic houseplant can be trained to stay bushy, making them good for containers which can be a plus when considering them for use inside the home. Cuttings taken can be used as a way to propagate this plant. Use four to six inch cuttings and place in good potting soil. Keep new plants misted and they should be well established in four to six weeks, creating more beautiful Bougainvilleas to enjoy inside or out.

Taking care of a Bougainvillea inside the home is not much different than taking care of one outside, placed on a patio. These plants require very bright light, at least half a day of sunlight. They need to be potted in large containers that are at least five to ten gallons in size or hanging baskets that are at least twelve inches in diameter. Well-draining potting soil should be used when potting these beautiful exotic houseplants. Pine bark can be added to the pot and the potting soil to increase the drainage. Fertilizer should be diluted by fifty percent before adding to plant. Repotting this exotic houseplant should be done annually. To repot, cut off one to two inches of the root ball and return the plant to same pot.

Bougainvilleas tend to bloom on branches that are eighteen to twenty inches long. Blooms are brilliant red, white, yellow, lavender or various pinks and occur early spring to the first frost. Bright sunlight and constant feedings with straight hibiscus food can lead to many months of beautiful full blooms.

These exotic houseplants have very little problems. Usually there will be leaf loss, which results from the light being too low. They have virtually no trouble with insects or pests. With the correct potting soil, which consists of four parts well rotted pine bark, three parts peat moss, two parts course perlite mixed together to create five gallons of soil mixture, added to half cup of Osmocote and two tablespoons of 19-5-9 slow release lawn fertilizer, these beautiful houseplants can be enjoyed for many years.

The Bougainvillea has traditionally been used outdoors on a patio or other locations. Today these beautiful plants have a new location to call home. They can be just as happy inside a home as they are outside. All they need is a little attention and care and the beauty they bestow on the outside of a home can easily be brought inside. So, with this in mind, do not be afraid to consider a Bougainvillea to help create a beautiful area inside the home.

Republished from 2007 Associated Content, All rights reserved.