What Is The Best Soil For Growing Bougainvillea?

Bougainvillea plants are drought-resistant that can do well in most types of soil. The primary consideration is drainage. The soil for Bougainvillea should be well-draining.

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Table Of Contents

How To Choose Or Prepare The Best Soil For Bougainvillea

When planting a Bougainvillea bush it’s good to know they handle drought conditions well and thrive in almost any potting soil.

Bougainvilleas have thin roots, making a well-draining soil essential. A regular potting soil works well. Avoid using soil mixes that contain water retaining components such as peat. A high level of peat in the soil mixture will promote root rot.

Also, soil-free growing media is preferable. This type of media is light and porous and provides good air circulation to the roots.

Additionally, a soilless growing mixture will not contain weed seeds, disease pathogens, or insects.

The main thing is, the soil should be sharply draining to prevent root rot. Don’t use lots of peat moss or a similar water-retaining substance.

The best pH level is between 5.5 and 6.5.

When using a soilless mixture, include some components that provide a small measure of water retention. If your blend is too light, airy, and water-shedding, it may dry out completely. This allows the root ball will shrink away from the sides of your container.

If this happens, you’ll have a hard time getting the substrate saturated again. No allowing plants to sit in standing water or you are inviting root rot.

DO NOT USE SAUCERS under your potted Bougainvillea.

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Large potted flowering Bougainvillea bush growing in a well draining soil.

Water Regularly For Healthy Plants And Abundant Blooms

Always keep your plants’ substrate moist as it becomes established. Once established, allow it to dry a bit to encourage blooming.

Use the soak-and-dry method of watering:

  • Water thoroughly, allowing the water to run through the substrate
  • Do not water again until the substrate begins to feel dry
  • Don’t let the medium to dry completely
  • Water right away if wilting occurs

If your Bougainvillea substrate (soil) dries out completely, set the entire container into a bucket of water. Allow to completely saturate. Dry soil is damaging to the plants’ tender roots.

Whenever you set out to pot a Bougainvillea or any other plant, be sure to moisten your potting mix in advance. This will make the mixture easier for you to handle and will help prevent root damage.

Learn more about Bougainvillea Watering

Bougainvilleas In Containers: How To Repot A Bougainvillea

Choose a container that restricts the plant’s roots a bit, and that has at least one drainage hole. More is better.

Remember to add a trellis when you repot. If you attempt to add one later, you may damage the plant’s delicate roots.

Soilless Potting Soils Require Regular Fertilizing

Bougainvillea roots are happiest with a soilless mixture containing few nutrients, but the plant and blooms need food. Fertilize with a water-soluble mixture containing phosphate and nitrogen throughout the blooming season.

If using a full-strength mixture, fertilize monthly throughout the growing season. Alternately, you can feed twice a month during the growing season using a half-strength mix.

Another option is to apply slow-release fertilizer once early in the springtime and again in midsummer. Do not fertilize during the winter.

Use The Right Fertilizer

Avoid balanced fertilizers that provide the same amount of nutrients across the NPK rating. Excessive phosphate and nitrogen can inhibit growing and blooming in Bougainvillea.

Look for a fertilizer specific to Bougainvillea with an NPK rating of 6-8-10. This rating provides enough nitrogen to enhance blooming without encouraging excessive leaf growth.

Be sure any fertilizer you use contains about five percent iron for the best color development.

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