Bougainvillea Bonsai: How to Grow and Care

bougainvillea bonsai

Are you planning to bring a bougainvillea home? But worried because you don’t have enough space at your home?

No need to worry because now you grow a bougainvillea as a bonsai plant even if you have no space at your home with the help of the tips that we will give in this article.

Bougainvillea plants are extremely beautiful and lively. It belongs to the family of ornamental flowering plants which are native to South America. It is a fast-growing plant and will bear any bonsai structure type but is mostly found in colors like pink, red, orange, white, and yellow. This plant has a stunning appearance with aesthetic leaves and a brittle trunk. Another amazing thing about them is the woody wines that make them adaptable to any climate.

So, today we will help you to learn about how to grow and care for a bougainvillea bonsai tree at home!

How To Care For a Bougainvillea Bonsai?

The care of a bonsai bougainvillea plant is quite simple. They merely need good watering facilities, a site to develop properly, and some attention. The tips that we have stated below should be kept in mind when cultivating a bougainvillea bonsai.

1. Location for bougainvillea bonsai

The location for every plant or bonsai is different. It differs according to their native, adaptability, suitable climate, and many other factors. Location plays an important role in the development of a bonsai. Proper location will provide the plants with the required amenities to ensure healthy growth.

Only when a bougainvillea bonsai is positioned extremely close to a window that receives direct sunlight or outside in a sunny region during its growing season will it be able to produce the blossom, which requires high temperatures and intense sunlight. They typically require temperatures between 10 to 15 degrees Celsius to develop. Although bougainvillea bonsai are incredibly adaptable, you must give them the right conditions for growth.

2. Light for bougainvillea bonsai

Bougainvilleas prefer full sunlight and like to be kept outside in the sun or indoors where an adequate amount of sunlight is available. Some harsher areas, such as desert-like environments, can be a bit tough on the plant, so make sure to be careful. If the plant does not receive enough sunlight, it will grow without any leaves.

3. Watering for bougainvillea bonsai

Water is the basic and the most important requirement in a plant’s life. Nothing can grow without water availability. Every bonsai may differ from even drought-resistant bonsai by its water consumption, but every bonsai requires watering. Watering helps the movement of the nutrients from the soil to other parts of the plant and provides minerals for the bonsai to grow.

Bougainvillea bonsai need lots of water for their nourishment to grow. Always check the soil of the bonsai if it is dry or not. If it is, then give the bonsai the correct amount of water to avoid overwatering. Try keeping the ground moist but not damp because then it can form fungus. You should make a drainage system for the bougainvillea bonsai to avoid such a situation, as the drainage hole will remove the excess water from the soil completely. Especially pour an extra amount of water for a foliage plant.

4. Fertilization for bougainvillea bonsai

Fertilization is nowadays required by almost all bonsai to develop fully. Fertilizers contain phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium that the potting soil of the bonsai lacks. To provide the bonsai with these nutrients, we should use fertilizers. They help in the better growth and nourishment of a bonsai. All plants may not need fertilization, but giving a little bit to the plant won’t harm anyone.

Bougainvillea bonsai also need fertilizers. Do this process once every month during their growing stage. This will only enhance their blossoming more. Bougainvillea bonsai has certain fertilizers for them which will be much better to use than the regular ones. They can be easily found in any gardening store.

But be careful and patient while fertilizing as the excess of it can even cause unnecessary harm to the plant. During winters, bougainvillea bonsai does not require too much fertilization as the plant does not receive the proper amenities.

Fertilization for bougainvillea bonsai

5. Pruning for bougainvillea bonsai

It means to give or change the shape of a bonsai. But you have to always be cautious while doing it as one wrong move can damage the plant. Like every other bonsai, bougainvillea bonsai can be shaped into almost all types of bonsai shapes. The best time to prune them will be when it’s active and healthy. Their growing period is between spring to mid-summer. Just avoid pruning the bonsai when it is not dormant.

You can cut the mature branches and roots to control their growth and shape it into your desired form and structure. Wiring is also used after pruning to change the shape of the trunk. It helps you bend the thick and old trunk into a required form. The older branches can be a little too moving since they have become hard and brittle. Perform this task with the proper care and attention to prevent any harm to the bonsai and you.

6. Repotting for bougainvillea bonsai

Bonsai plants should be accordingly repotted to their requirement. Like smaller bougainvillea, bonsai should be repotted every two to three years. While the larger ones can be repotted every three to five years. It ensures a systematic and controlled development of the bonsai. Doing this step you have to be careful to not remove the needed roots.

Before potting the plant in the soil make sure to untangle them and adjust the roots so they can have plenty of space in the container. The best way to know a good time to repot a bougainvillea bonsai is to check the drainage holes. If the water easily seeps through the mixture, then it is time to change the soil. Also, be careful while potting a younger bougainvillea bonsai since their roots are fine and brittle.

You should use a well-drained soil mixture. Bougainvillea bonsai should have 40% to 50% organic material and others should be hard materials like sand, granulated granite, etc.

7. Propagation for bougainvillea bonsai

The bougainvillea can be propagated from cuttings. Best results are achieved in spring and summer with semi-hardwood cuttings or root cuttings. Air-layering is also possible. For more detailed information on these techniques, try our Bonsai tree care section.

8. Pests and diseases for bougainvillea bonsai

Bougainvillea bonsai are resistant to pests and diseases only if properly taken care of. Also, when the soil is not damp because it is then there is a possibility of growing fungus. Weak bougainvillea bonsai tend to attract pests like powdery mildew, aphids, scale, mealy bug, white fly, or caterpillars.

Now to irradiate or remove them use specific pesticides and insecticides. Also, cut down the wilted flowers to prevent any rots from forming in the bonsai. But the main reason for any harm to this bonsai is a fungus that is usually formed by the damped soil. To prevent it you should limit your water availability and improve your drainage systems.

How To Grow A Bougainvillea Bonsai?

As said above bougainvillea is easy to grow, but you need to be careful and gentle while planting any bonsai as a little pressure can cause a lot of damage to the plant. We have mentioned below some of the steps that you must follow for growing a bougainvillea bonsai!

  • First, select a seed or a bougainvillea plant from a nursery to grow. Ensure that the plant is not damaged or broken as it may later cause problems to you while growing. Also, try to select a bougainvillea with a unique shape so you would not have to wire or prune it too much. 
  • Next, remove the plant from the container given into a small pot filled with water. Let it rest there until you have cleaned and made the potting mixture for the bougainvillea plant. 
  • Take a large container to allow space and freedom for the roots to grow freely. Clean the pot thoroughly to create a healthy and safe environment for the bonsai to grow in. Also, while doing this step create a drainage hole at the bottom of the container to allow the excess water to pass through easily. If you do not have a drainage system, then there are chances of overwatering, which further leads to harming the plant. 
  • The next step is to create a potting mixture. Use organic or chemical substances, whichever suits you and the plant to develop properly. Ensure that the potting soil is mixed nicely and no granules are left. 
  • Once the mixture is ready then plant the bonsai into the pot and put the potting mixture in it. Spread the mixture thoroughly around the roots so no air pockets are left, which can at a later stage cause problems with the nourishment of the plant. 
  • After the plant is completely settled in the pot, then we water the plant. You should water the bonsai every day, and also when the soil has dried up. You can check this by inserting an inch of your finger into the soil to see if the soil is still wet or dried. Also, another vital point is to keep the soil moist and not damp because damp soil is an invitation for fungus, insects, and unwanted diseases.


Q1. How often should the bougainvillea bonsai be watered?

Ans. It prefers frequent watering every three to four weeks. A bougainvillea that receives too much water may develop fungal infections and root rot. When maintained nicely, bougainvillea flowers and grows more effectively. You’ll get more green growth and fewer blossoms if you use too much water.

Q2. How much sunlight does bougainvillea bonsai need?

Ans. Sunlight is an important factor in the growth of the plant. Bougainvillea bonsai should receive light for at least 6 to 8 hours daily. This ensures better growth and development in the plant. Less sunlight will cause the plant to lose its color and wilt away after a certain period. But excess sunlight can also damage the bonsai. So be careful and attentive to your bougainvillea bonsai. 

Q3. When to fertilize the bougainvillea bonsai?

Ans. The best time to fertilize a bougainvillea bonsai is between mid-summer to spring, which is said to be their growing season. Fertilizing a plant at that time boosts its growth and nourishment. Also, fertilizing the bougainvillea bonsai is necessary. 

Q4. Why are the leaves of the bougainvillea turning yellow and falling off?

Ans. Insufficient light and shadow can cause leaves, especially older ones, to gradually turn yellow. Water levels that are too high or too low might cause leaves to drop. Yellow leaves will appear on frightened plants, especially those that have just been brought indoors for the winter.

Q5. How do you sprout bougainvillea bonsai?

Ans. You can simply remove 6 to 8 inches of a plant’s stem, sprinkle rooting hormone on the end, and place it in a shallow pot with well-drained potting soil. After giving the cutting a thorough initial watering, wrap it in a plastic bag and set it aside in a cool, dark area. This is the method used for sprouting a bougainvillea bonsai. 

Q6. What kind of soil do bougainvillea bonsai like?

Ans. Bougainvillea is vulnerable to erosion when kept constantly damp. Therefore, the soil must have drainage holes. The optimum soil for the bougainvillea bonsai should be rich and loamy. But you can make changes according to your wish and the plant’s suitability.


You may now have a clearer idea of how to grow and care for Bougainvillea bonsai plants. Despite being easy to grow, bougainvillea needs to be well cared for because a lack of amenities can eventually lead to the death of the plant. I hope the details above were helpful to you and cleared any confusion.

If you have further questions in your mind about bougainvillea, feel free to comment down below, and also don’t forget to share this article with your friends and family!

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