Bougainvillea Bonsai Care Guide


Your bonsai gift arrives planted in a ceramic container with humidity tray and rocks. Place the rocks on the tray and the plant in its container on top of the rocks. Please read and follow the instructions below carefully to keep your plant healthy.


Bougainvillea bonsai bloom in spring and summer in warm climates from March through October. The vibrant color comes from bracts which surround the insignificant, small cream-colored flowers. Individual bracts may last on the plant for three or more weeks if growing conditions are good.


Situate your bonsai where it will receive at least 4 hours of direct sunlight daily during its active growth period and where it will receive bright indirect or diffuse light at other times. In winter, during its rest period, cool temperatures of 50° to 60°F are needed to stimulate spring flowering. When the interior air is dry, mist your plant frequently, place it near other leafy plants or next to an open container of water, and keep the humidity tray filled with water so that the water never touches the bottom of the planter.

It is beneficial to move your bonsai outdoors occasionally, but not during severely hot or cold weather. It is best to move your bonsai outdoors in the spring after minimum night temperatures exceed 55°F, place the plant in light shade, protected from the wind, and return it indoors before the first frost in the fall. If the plant is subjected to unsuitable conditions and/or temperatures below 45°F (indoors or outdoors), it may lose some or all of its leaves.

Bougainvillea Bonsai tree


Your bonsai plant requires frequent watering during its active growth period. To water, place the plant in a pan with 1 to 2 inches of water and soak for an hour or so until the soil looks and feels moist. Never use water that has been treated by a water softener. After watering, the soil color will be a deep chocolate brown. The soil color will lighten as it dries, and when the top 1/3 of the soil surface feels dry to the touch, it needs watering. During the winter rest period, reduce watering frequency and allow the soil to become nearly dry before watering.

If the tree gets too dry or excessive salts build up on the soil surface, submerge the entire pot in water to thoroughly water and wash out salts. If you are unable to water it for several days, you can seal the pot in a plastic bag immediately after watering. The bag acts as a greenhouse and will keep the soil moist for at least a week.


Apply complete liquid fertilizer at half strength every 4 weeks throughout the growing and flowering period, typically early spring to late summer/early fall.

Jackson & Perkins offers a selection of fertilizer & plant care products. We suggest using AlgoPlus Fertilizer for the general health and maintenance of your plant.


Bonsai trees must be pruned to maintain a balanced ratio between canopy and root. Without pruning the branches, the tree would grow too large to be supported by the confined root structure. Pruning also induces branching, producing a denser plant.

Bougainvilleas bloom on new wood, so heavy pruning/shaping should be done in late winter or early spring before new growth begins, and any subsequent tip pruning should be done only after the new growth has become 3 to 5 inches long.


Every spring (March-May) your bonsai will need its roots pruned. Gently remove the plant from the pot, carefully remove some of the soil around the sides and bottom of the root ball. Cut off 1/3 of the roots all the way around and up from the bottom. Place fresh, porous soil in the pot (a houseplant soil mix is suitable) and replant the bonsai. After potting, mist the plant and water thoroughly per watering instructions (above) so that the entire root ball is moist.


Bonsai are especially susceptible to aphids and spider mites. So, it’s important to closely inspect your plant once a month, especially the underside of leaves, and if any pests are present, remove them by hand, or gently wash the leaves with highly diluted soapy water and follow with a freshwater rinse.

IMPORTANT: Ornamental plant material should not be eaten. Keep away from pets and children.