How to Water Bougainvillea in Pots

Because they come from hot regions, bougainvillea thrive when given a strong soak followed by some soil drying, as this mimics the regular watering cycle in their natural habitat.

During the Spring and Summer, give potted bougainvillea a good watering every 7 to 14 days. Before watering the bougainvillea again, let the soil dry out. In the winter, water bougainvillea once every two or three weeks, making sure the soil is completely dry before doing so. Delay watering until the soil feels dried if it is still wet.

Conditions:Bougainvillea Watering Schedule:
When to plant bougainvillea in the spring and summer:If it’s hot outside and there hasn’t been much rain lately, water Bougainvillea well once a week. Water bougainvillea every two weeks if it has rained or been cloudy and colder.
In the Fall and Winter, water your bougainvillea as needed:In the winter, water once every two to three weeks, and let the oil dry in between applications. To prevent root rot, wait another week before watering the plant if the dirt at the base of the pot still feels moist.

For the recommended watering schedule to be precise and the bougainvillea to be healthy, bougainvillea should be planted in well-draining soil and in containers with drainage holes in the base.

Read on to learn the best way to water bougainvillea in pots and containers as well as how to prevent root rot from excessive watering.

How to Water Bougainvillea in a PotBest Method for Watering

The ideal technique to water bougainvillea in pots is to water deeply until excess water drips from the base of the pot, then let the soil dry completely before watering it once again. By liberally watering the pot, you can make sure that water has permeated the soil and reached the bougainvillea’s roots.

As the roots are encouraged to go deeply into the soil to reach the hydration they need, watering with a particularly generous soak until water runs from the base of the pot and then letting the soil dry out somewhat also promotes excellent development (and promotes flowering).

This is also one of the main reasons it’s important to plant bougainvillea in pots and containers with drainage holes in the base, as water coming up through the bottom of the pot is a great sign that you’ve given your bougainvillea enough water to meet its moisture requirements.

A bougainvillea that receives too little water will only have the top layer of the soil hydrated, which encourages shallow root development and makes the plant less drought-resistant and hardy overall.

How Often to Water Bougainvillea in Pots

Delay watering for an additional week if there has been substantial rainfall this week and the soil is still damp to the depth of your fingers.

In parts of Brazil with hot, tropical climates that are comparable to the Mediterranean region of Europe in terms of climate, bougainvillea flourishes.

Because of this, bougainvilleas benefit from the same watering schedule as Mediterranean herbs like potted thyme, lavender, rosemary, and rosemary.

Because bougainvilleas are naturally tolerant of drought-like conditions, the risk of damage from overwatering is significantly greater than from underwatering. Therefore, always water once per week in the spring and summer with a good soak and then let the soil dry before watering again.

When in question about when to water, wait a day or two because it is far simpler to revive a bougainvillea that has lost water than one that has been overwatered.

It should be noted that a number of variables, like the pot’s size and material, might affect how frequently you water your bougainvillea. As a result, you may need to change your watering schedule from time to time to suit your specific climate and conditions.

Plant your bougainvillea ideally in a clay, ceramic, or terracotta container that is at least 12 inches across.

A pot with a diameter of about 12 inches and a depth of the same proportion may hold more soil, which in turn can hold more moisture.

If your pot is less than 12 inches, it will probably dry up too rapidly in full light during the spring and summer (which encourages flowering) before the roots can absorb the liquid they require.

The soil does not dry out too rapidly in clay, ceramic, and terracotta pots as they do not conduct as much heat during the day as plastic or metal pots do.

Bougainvillea in metal or plastic pots or containers needs to be watered more frequently due to how rapidly the soil dries out and the pots heat up.

Increase the frequency of watering the bougainvillea if you see it drooping and the soil is dry to the touch at both the surface and the base of the pot (feel the soil through the drainage hole underneath the pot). This should stop it from looking wilted.

When the bougainvillea is wilting but the soil still feels damp, it is usually a sign that you are watering too frequently. You should wait until the earth is completely dry before watering again.

Why is my bougainvillea dying? (Read my article.)

How Often to Water Bougainvillea in Pots in Winter (Indoors or Outdoors)

In the Fall and Winter, water your bougainvillea once every two to three weeks. Allowing the soil to completely dry out in between watering sessions will help Bougainvillea thrive over the winter, when its water needs are much lower and root rot risk is much greater.

In the winter, bougainvillea enters a more dormant state as a result of reduced light and temperature, which reduces its need for hydration.

Being a tropical plant, bougainvillea must not be exposed to temperatures below 50°F (10°C) at night. Even at this temperature, it is likely to lose its leaves (the leaves can regrow in Spring as long as it is protected from the cold, read my article why is my bougainvillea losing its leaves and how to save it)

Therefore, it is customary in colder locations to bring bougainvillea indoors and arrange it in a sunny window far from heat sources or drafty areas.

To meet its watering needs in Winter and prevent root rot, your bougainvillea should be watered once every two to three weeks whether it is indoors or outdoors.

Even though bougainvillea needs watering less frequently in the fall and winter, it is still crucial to water properly so that excess water drains from the bottom of the pot. If you water too lightly, the moisture won’t go to the roots where it is needed.

Because root rot is a typical cause of bougainvillea death in the winter, it’s crucial not to water bougainvillea too frequently during the cold, rainy months.

(Read my article to find out why my bougainvillea isn’t in flower.)

Use a Pot with Drainage Hole in the Base

Use a Pot with Drainage Hole in the Base

Bougainvillea prefers the soil surrounding the roots to somewhat dry out between waterings, which is why having sufficient drainage in the pot’s base is crucial.

It’s also crucial to stress that you shouldn’t place a saucer or tray under your bougainvillea pot because doing so encourages water to accumulate in excess at the base of the pot, keeping the soil moist and encouraging the development of root rot.

To avoid compacted dirt hindering drainage, I would even advise adding a 1 inch layer of gravel to the bottom of the bougainvillea pot before planting.

The best technique is to set your bougainvillea pot on little feet so that it is slightly elevated off the ground, however this is not always essential.

This enhances airflow at the base of the pot, which can also assist the soil dry out between bouts of watering, especially in high humidity or rainy climates, and prevents water from pooling underneath the pot, letting it to drain more effectively.

(View my article on potted bougainvillea growth.)

Key Takeaways:

  • In the spring and summer, bougainvillea in pots should be watered once per week, and in the fall and winter, once every two to three weeks. Because bougainvillea does not like damp soil and is drought-resistant, let the soil dry out between waterings. Instead of giving bougainvillea a gentle mist, give it a deep soak.
  • Instead of using plastic or metal, plant bougainvillea in pots that are at least 12 inches across and made of ceramic, clay, or terracotta. For the bougainvillea roots to be able to absorb moisture in the summer, a 12 inch pot has more soil, which keeps the pot from drying out too rapidly. In direct sunlight, ceramic, clay, or terracotta pots retain more heat than metal and plastic pots.
  • Always plant bougainvillea in soil that drains well and in containers with drainage holes at the base to let excess water drain after watering. This guarantees that the plant receives the ideal balance of moisture and drainage and lowers the danger of root rot.


What happens if you over water bougainvillea?

It prefers infrequent deep waterings to nice, thorough waterings every three to four weeks. A bougainvillea that receives too much water may develop fungal infections and root rot. When maintained dry, bougainvillea flowers more effectively. You’ll get more green growth and fewer blossoms if you use too much water.

How often should bougainvillea be watered?

every 4 weeks or more

How much water and sun does bougainvillea need?

Outdoor bougainvillea need six or more hours of direct sunlight each day in order to produce its magnificent blossoms. Bougainvillea Watering and Care The plant will thrive better in a warm wall or corner facing a house if it is planted in a zone that is only moderately hardy. Shaded locations are not conducive to its growth.

What do Overwatered bougainvillea look like?

You’ll see yellowed leaves, rotting lower leaves, and a loss of blossoms and buds if you overwater your plants. You’ll also notice that your plant is suffering from root rot if it persists for too long. Wet feet are not good for bougainvillea.