Bougainvillea, known for its vibrant blooms, requires special care during winter, especially in colder climates where frost can damage it. Whether your bougainvillea is planted in the ground or in a pot, proper winterization ensures its health and longevity.

When to Overwinter Bougainvillea:

Bougainvillea should be prepared for winter when temperatures drop below 5°C, typically in mid to late autumn. In colder regions, this might be as early as late October to avoid frost damage, which can be fatal for these tropical plants.

Overwintering in the Ground:

  • Avoid Moisture Retention: Use materials like straw for insulation around the plant base. Avoid polypropylene covers that trap moisture, as bougainvillea prefers dry conditions.
  • Protect from Frost: Wrap the trunk and main branches with bubble wrap if frost is expected. This helps insulate the plant from freezing temperatures.

Overwintering in Pots:

  • Choosing a Location: Place potted bougainvillea in a bright, cool area with temperatures ideally between 5°C and 15°C. Avoid heated indoor spaces, as they disrupt the plant’s dormancy.
  • Light Requirements: Provide 14 to 16 hours of full-spectrum light daily if indoors, positioning the light source at least 30 cm away to prevent leaf burn.
  • Soil and Pest Management: Before bringing indoors, ensure the soil is well-draining to prevent waterlogging and mold. Check for pests and treat accordingly to avoid infestations during winter dormancy.
  • Pruning and Watering: Prune back long branches as needed to manage size and reduce stress on the plant. Reduce watering significantly during winter, adjusting based on light and temperature conditions. Avoid fertilizing during colder months.

By following these guidelines, you can successfully overwinter your bougainvillea, ensuring it remains healthy and ready to bloom beautifully when warmer weather returns.