Can you have a bougainvillea in a pot?

The bougainvillea is a climber that can be in a pot

Bougainvillea is a climbing shrub that produces so many flowers that it creates a spectacle of color during spring and summer. It can reach 6-8 meters in height, so it is used to cover pergolas and ceilings. But did you know that its growth can easily be controlled by regular pruning?

It is a plant that heals well and quickly. So much so that, if you have nowhere to put it, we encourage you to have a potted bougainvillea.

Related article:
When to plant bougainvillea?

What pot to choose?

Bougainvillea needs a large pot

La bougainvillea It is a plant that looks good in all types of pots, whether plastic or terracotta. But these two materials are so different that they each have their own advantages and disadvantages. Let's see what they are:

Plastic flowerpot


  • Weighs just: you can easily move around.
  • It is economical: even the one measuring 40cm in diameter can cost just 4-5 euros. Although yes, if it is made of resistant plastic it will cost you around 7 euros.
  • It is easy to clean: if it gets stained, just wipe it off.


  • It can be carried by the wind: weighing little, if we live in an area where strong wind usually blows, it could take it with it.
  • With time it spoils: even if it is made of resistant plastic, in the end sooner or later it ends up spoiling.

Terracotta pot


  • It is very durable: Terracotta is a material that withstands the elements well, so it stays intact for many, many years.
  • It cannot be carried away by the wind: it has the ideal weight to withstand gusts of wind.
  • It is very decorative: nowadays we can find flowerpots with very elegant designs and shapes.


  • Your selling price is high: a 40cm pot can cost around 15-20 euros.
  • If it falls, it breaks: you have to be very careful with this, as terracotta is a very resistant material but at the same time very fragile. If it falls to the ground, it will most likely break.

What are the care of the Potted Bougainvillea?


Bougainvillea is an easy plant to care for

Image – Flickr/lastonein


when to transplant bougainvillea
Related article:
When to transplant bougainvillea

When we have decided which pot we will use to have our bougainvillea, we will have to transplant it. For this, what we will do is the following:

  1. First, we will place coffee filters in the drainage holes. This way we will avoid that the substrate is lost every time we water.
  2. Next, we will place the »new» pot in the place where we want to have the plant, and we will fill it with universal growing substrate mixed with 30% perlite (for sale here!) a little less than half.
  3. Then we will extract the plant from its "old" pot, and put it in the "new" one. If we see that it is too high or too low, we will remove or add substrate. To have a guide, we must know that the base of the stems should be a little below the edge of the pot.
  4. Then we will finish filling with substrate.
  5. Now, we water well, conscientiously.
  6. Finally, we can put a tutor if we want it to climb a lattice or wall.

Bougainvillea: sun or shade?

The bugambilia or bougainvillea is a plant that prefers to have the leaves and flowers in full sun, and the rest of the stems in shade. For this reason, it is very interesting to place it, for example, on a lattice or pergola, since in this way, as it grows, it will provide the shade it needs.

bougainvillea care
Related article:
Bougainvillea: Sun or shade?

In addition, it is a way to have a hanging bougainvillea, although it is not the only one: in fact, you can also put it on a tall piece of furniture and let its stems hang.


For our potted bougainvillea to grow well, it will be very important to water it from time to time. Frequency will vary depending on weather as well as location, but in general we will have to water every 3 days in summer and every 5-6 days the rest of the year.

In case of doubt, we will check the humidity of the substrate. For this we can do several things:

  • Use a moisture meter: to make it more reliable, it is highly recommended to insert it at different points.
  • Introduce a thin wooden stick: if when you take it out, it comes out practically clean, then we can water when the substrate is dry.


Bougainvillea needs to be fertilized during spring and summer in order to grow and flower. Therefore, during all the warm months It is highly advisable to pay with liquid fertilizers (such as this) following the indications specified on the product packaging.

Potted bougainvillea pruning

pruning bougainvillea in pot
Related article:
How to Prune Potted Bougainvillea

Pruning is essential when you have a bougainvillea in a pot, because not doing so could stop its growth and we could even lose it. But when and how do you prune?

To control its growth we have to wait for the end of winter and disinfect a pruning shears. When we have done this, we will observe the plant carefully, first from a distance and then closely. So we can have an idea of ​​how it is developing and which stems we have to cut or remove.

Then, we will have to prune those stems that look weak, sick or have broken. If what we want is to have a non-climbing shrub in a pot, we will cut more or less in half; in this way we will stimulate the production of low stems; and if we are interested in having a hanging bougainvillea, we will leave the longest stems.


The bougainvillea in my yard in full bloom season.

When does bougainvillea bloom?

If you have a bougainvillea without flowers, don't worry. If you give it the care that we recommend, it will surely bloom sooner than you think. In fact, its flowering season begins in spring and lasts until late summer, so it blooms for several weeks in a row.

But if you want to help it, we recommend you fertilize it with a specific fertilizer for flowering plants, since this way it will have more energy. you can buy it here!.

With these tips, we will have a beautiful bougainvillea.

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  1.   Martha said

    Excellent, didactic, however I would like to specify the size of the pots so that they can climb or have them small, not bonsai, thank you very much for your great contribution we coincide in the love of nature.

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Martha.
      Thanks for your words 🙂
      As for your question, the pot must have a diameter of at least 30cm.
      A greeting.

  2.   Janis said

    Hi there ! I really liked this article. But I would like to know my bungavillea. I have it in a pot and I want it to climb the mesh on the wall, I have placed a tutor but how would I prune it? Any other advice would you give me? Thank you very much in advance
    Greetings Nani

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Janis.
      When you want it to climb during the first years, pruning is not recommended, because what we need is to produce stems ... and all of them count, even those that dry because the new shoots will lean on them to cover the wall.

      Later, when the plant has grown enough and has covered the mesh, it will be time to trim those stems that are growing excessively, to the desired length, with pruning shears.

      A greeting.

  3.   Maria Teresa said

    I have a bungavilla in a plastic pot and I don't know why in three days it has lost all the leaves and flowers. I don't know if it will sprout again. what can you recommend me

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Maria Teresa.
      How often do you water it? During the summer you have to water often, every 2-3 days; the rest of the year every 4-5 days.
      Have you ever transplanted it? If not, you probably need a slightly larger pot. Anyway, scratch the stem a little to see if it is green; since if it is there is still hope 🙂
      A greeting.

  4.   Be said

    Good article!!
    I would just like to know how to fertilize potted bougainvillea. Quantity, frequency, ... Thank you very much

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Ser.
      You can pay it in spring and summer with a universal fertilizer for plants following the instructions specified on the package. The dose and frequency are indicated in the same container, which is usually weekly.
      A greeting.

  5.   Yohany said

    Thank you for your advice, they are very helpful. Yesterday after reading your articles I transplanted my bougainvillea to a terracotta pot but I think I did something wrong because it is very sad and I don't know what to do and I don't want to lose it. The land I bought said for flowers and it was very humid and I just put a little water on it, please help me and thank you very much

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Yohany.
      It is normal that during the first days the plant looks sad.
      Water it two or three times a week in summer and a little less the rest of the year, and little by little it will improve.
      A greeting.

  6.   Maria Luisa of Romagna said

    Good afternoon, I want to put bougainvillea pots on the balconies of the building but there is a neighbor who is concerned because they have told her that this plant attracts spiders

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Maria Luisa.
      No, it does not attract spiders 🙂 Bougainvillea is a very clean plant in terms of insects.
      a greeting

  7.   Jenny vargas said

    Very good days.
    I waited a long time to have my own little house and put my favorite plants that are bougainvilleas.
    My question is: can I put them in pots and hold them on the balcony, I mean, it needs depth in the ground, oh it is not necessary for the pots to be huge, and they grow well down or not? And what kind of care and do I need to know everything necessary to have them on the balconies of the venranas?
    Thank you very much for your concern and valuable response.
    I love this plant, and my goal is to cover the walls of my house with various colors of bougainvillea. I need all your advice.
    A thousand thanks and a thousand blessings.

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Jenny,
      Yes, you can have them in pots, but they must be large, at least 40cm in diameter.
      To have them on balconies, you can simply attach their branches to the bars with ropes or zip ties.
      In the article you have information on how to take care of them.
      If you have any further questions, ask.
      A greeting.

  8.   Elena Arevalo placeholder image said

    your help is good. I sowed my bougainvillea a year ago in a pot. At first they turned green and full of flowers, but about 4 months ago the leaf fell silent and they look varejonudas, I don't know if to pass them. the truth is that they do not look healthy and I would like to make bows with them and they are not the same. please i need your co your advice.

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Elena.
      Have you checked if they have any plagues? They may have aphids or mealybugs.
      In any case, I would recommend treating them with a universal insecticide that you can buy at any nursery.
      A greeting.

  9.   Nancy A. said

    I bought a bougainvillea full of flowers about 20 days ago ... it is in a pot, but all the flowers are falling and the leaves are off ... I water them 2 times a week, will it be the wind? What changes should I make please… .thanks

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Nancy.
      I recommend you water it more often: 3-4 times a week.
      A greeting.

  10.   Selene said

    Excellent article ! I will follow your advice, thank you!

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      We're glad you liked it, Selene 🙂

  11.   Gustavo Morales placeholder image said

    Hi Monica, I have a bougainvillea that I planted in a pot made of cement 40 wide by 40 long and 50 high. I live in Cali and it is a tropical climate, sunny all year round, without night frosts and I have it on the terrace. I bought it flowered, purple, pretty and now it's only green leaves but it doesn't grow or anything. What do you recommend for it to flourish and have good growth? Thanks a lot

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Gustavo.
      You have to be patient. Water it frequently and fertilize it with a liquid fertilizer, such as guano for example, which you can buy at any nursery.
      A greeting.

  12.   Franklin Villafuerte said

    In a pot of 40 cm in diameter and 60 in height, how much can my bougainvillea grow? Thanks for the answer….

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Franklin.
      It can grow without problems.
      Of course, it will not have the robust and wide trunk that those that are on the ground do, but in a pot it can live and develop normally.
      If you have to climb, you can exceed 5 meters.
      A greeting.

  13.   Peter Boronat said

    I have a bougainvillea, it made a flowering, all the flowers fell and now there are only green leaves

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Peter.
      It is normal that it only blooms once a year. Fertilize it in spring and summer with fertilizers such as guano following the instructions specified on the package and you will see how it blooms again.
      A greeting.

  14.   Marianne tapia said

    I find your article very interesting. I would like to know if I can plant, in the same pot, two bougainvillea plants of different colors. It is that they gave me two and I would like to know if I can make them grow together. Above all I ask, because around there they told me that it does not grow well if it has other flowering plants around.

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Marianne.
      I do not advise it, since they are very vigorous plants and their roots will compete until one of the two ... well, it dries: s
      A greeting.

  15.   Maripaz said

    Very interesting article! I want to encourage myself this year to have one on my terrace, but I was always concerned about its care, which in reality there are not so many, you just have to be a little aware, right?
    It is one of the most beautiful bushes that exists 🙂

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Maripaz.
      That is, you just have to watch that it does not lack water above all 🙂

      If you dare, you will tell us how are you.


  16.   Ana said

    Hello Monica, thank you very much for your article and advice, they come in handy especially when you are new ..;)
    I wanted to ask you, I bought one in February and put it in a large pot. It grew very fast to the ppio, few flowers but it was healthy. Now the branches are still growing but without leaves and all the stems are longer are the same. I have added liquid compost and I usually water it two or three times a week, I don't know what else I can do. Thank you very much for your help. Greetings

  17.   Jazz said

    Hello, my bougainvillea is 2 years old and has produced very few flowers. I fertilize it with penguin guano and don't over water it. I found on one of its leaves a kind of white beehive and a large bug on a branch. What I can do? Many thanks

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Jazz.

      You can remove them with a little soap and water, although if it reappears, I recommend treating it with an anti-cochineal insecticide.


  18.   Lidia lullo said

    Hello. Very good article. Thank you. I would like to make an inquiry. I bought two bougainvilleas a month ago. they are blooming well, but the problem is that the leaves curl inward. They told me that it may be a lack of watering but I am watering them every day and they remain the same. Could it be a disease? They are in full sun in pots.

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Lidia.

      They may have too much water. Bougainvilleas need the soil to dry out a bit before watering them again, otherwise the roots rot and problems begin (yellow leaves, leaf drop, etc.)

      By the way, when you water, do you pour water until it comes out of the holes in the pot? It is that if you only moisten the surface, it may be that it lacks water. You always have to water all the soil well so that all the roots are hydrated.

      The ideal is to water them 3 or maximum 4 times a week during the summer; during the rest of the year the waterings will be more spaced (1, maybe 2 a week).


  19.   Reeds said

    Hello, good day, I have a concern regarding this plant. They gave me a bougainvillea in a basket. They told me that it was Mexican, but where it came from, it had little soil and the bag was almost broken and the substrate completely dried if it looked good, but I had to do it. transplant so that when watering it, the substrate would not continue to come out of the basket but when removing it it hurt a part of its roots where it gets the morning sun and that of the. It is late and it is very hot and I have been watering it 3 times a week but its leaves and flowers are like dried and the stem is already falling green but I do not know if to prune or remove the leaves or change it or water it more .. I would appreciate his advice

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Ros.

      You did well to transplant it, since if it lacked soil it would have had a lot of problems remaining in the basket.

      If it is very hot, I recommend taking it to a somewhat protected area, where the sun does not shine so directly, since it is possible that it is burning.