How to Water Bougainvillea in Pots

Bougainvillea is a native of hot environments and thrive best by soaking them well, and then allowing the soil to dry out a bit, as this is similar to the watering cycle of their natural environment.

Water the bougainvillea in pots every 7-14 days, with an extensive watering in the summer and springtime. Let the soil dry before watering the bougainvillea again. Water the bougainvillea every two or three weeks during winter, making sure that the soil is dry prior to applying water. If the soil remains wet, wait until the soil feels dry.

Bougainvillea is best planted in soil that is well-draining and in pots that have drainage holes at the base for the watering recommendations to be precise and ensure that the plant is healthy.

Read on for the best method of watering bougainvillea containers and pots, and also how to prevent root rot due to excessive watering…

How to Water Bougainvillea in a Pot- Best Method for Watering

The most effective method to water the bougainvillea inside pots is to soak them thoroughly, so that the excess water drips off the bottom of the pot. Then let the soil dry prior to watering again. By watering the pot thoroughly, you can ensure that the soil is flooded with water so that it can reach the root of the plant.

A large amount of water so that it flows from the bottom of the pot. leaving that the soil dry out slightly also aids in the development of the plant (and encourages flowering) because the roots are encouraged to extend into the soil in order to get the water they need.

This is one of the main reasons why it is import to plant bougainvillea in pots or a containers with drainage holes at the bottom because water leaking out of the base a good indication that you’ve used enough water from your bougainvillea plant to meet the requirements for moisture.

If you water your plants too sparsely then only the surface is moistened, which encourages roots that are shallow and leads to a less robust and hardy bougainvillea, which is more susceptible to drought.

How Often to Water Bougainvillea in Pots

Pots of watering bougainvilleas every week, and then let for the soil to dry out slightly between watering sessions. Bougainvilleas are drought-resistant and require to allow the soil to dry around the roots prior to repeating the watering. The frequency of watering for bougainvilleas is more than every week can create conditions that lead to root decay.

If there was significant rain during the week, and the soil remains damp to the point of a finger and you want to delay watering for a week.

Bougainvillea thrive in tropical hot climates in regions of Brazil which are remarkably similar with the Mediterranean area of Europe.

So, bougainvilleas benefit from the same watering cycles as Mediterranean herbs like rosemary, lavender and thyme, as well as sage.

In terms of how often you water your bougainvilleas the danger of injury by overwatering is much greater than underwatering because of the bougainvillea’s natural tolerance to drought-like conditions that is why it is recommended to make sure to water them once a week during the spring and summer with an adequate soak, and let the soil dry prior to watering again.

If you are unsure of the best time to water, you can wait at least a day before you water as it is much simpler to bring back a bougainvillea that is that is suffering from dehydration than from excessive watering.

It is important to note that there are a variety of variables that affect the frequency at which it is necessary to water the bougainvillea, therefore a change to your routine of watering is usually required to accommodate the specific climate and conditions like the dimensions of the pot as well as the material used in the pot.

It is recommended to plant your bougainvillea in a pot that’s minimum 12 inches in diameter and is made of clay ceramic, terracotta or ceramic.

A pot that is 12 inches in diameter and the same depth could hold more soil, and thus hold more water.

If the pot you are using is less than 12 inches, it’s likely to dry out fast in full sunshine (which promotes flowering) in the spring and summer months before the roots are able to absorb the water they require.

Terracotta, clay, and ceramic pots are superior to metal or plastic pots because they do not emit as much heat during the day, which means that the soil doesn’t dry out too fast.

Bougainvillea in metal or plastic containers or pots should be watered more frequently to take into account how fast the pots get hot as well as dry the soil.

If you notice that your bougainvillea is becoming wilted and your soil appears dry to the touch on both the surface and at the bottom of your pot (feel the soil near the bottom of the pot by the drainage hole beneath the pot) Then increase the frequency you water your bougainvillea that should help to reduce the appearance of wilting.

If your bougainvillea is dying however the soil is feeling damp it is usually an indication that you’re overwatering and must allow the soil to dry before re-watering.

(Read my article on what is the reason my bougainvillea dying?)

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

Water your bougainvillea every 2 to 3 weeks during the winter and fall seasons. The need for water from bougainvillea is lower in Winter and the chance of root rot is greater, so let your soil time to dry out in a timely manner between watering sessions.

With less light and a lower temperatures, bougainvillea enters an inactive state during winter, and the need for moisture is less.

It is crucial to remember that bougainvillea is a tropical species and is not tolerant of temperatures that are lower than 50degF (10degC) at night and, even at this temperature, it is likely to lose the leaves (the leaves will re-grow in spring if they are protected from cold. Read my article on the reasons my bougainvillea shedding its leaves and what you can do to help the plant)

It is therefore a common to bring bougainvillea inside and place it in a bright window and away from heat sources or cold, draughty places in cooler climates.

No matter if your bougainvillea grows outside or indoors it must be watered every two or three weeks to ensure it is watered in winter and to prevent root decay.

While bougainvillea needs watering less frequently in Winter and Fall, it is nevertheless essential to water it thoroughly to ensure that the excess water drains away from the bottom of the pot, as watering too lightly can mean that the moisture isn’t reaching the roots at the point it is needed.

It is important not to water the bougainvillea too often during Winter, because cold, damp soil can create the conditions that cause root rot, which is the most common cause of the death of bougainvillea during the course of winter.

(Read my article on what is the reason my bougainvillea flowering but not flowering?)

Make use of a pot with a drainage hole in the base

It is vital to plant bougainvillea in pots that have drainage holes at the bottom to allow any excess water to drain after an application of water.

Bougainvillea likes the soil around its root zone to become dry a bit between watering sessions, and that is the reason a good drainage at the bottom of your pot is crucial.

It is also crucial to note that you shouldn’t use an unattractive tray or saucer under the bougainvillea planter because this can cause excess water to accumulate at the bottom of the pot, which makes the soil stay moist and increases the conditions that encourage root rot.

I’d even suggest putting an inch of gravel on the bottom of your bougainvillea planter prior to planting in order to avoid the soil from becoming compacted and slowing drainage.

While this isn’t always required, it is recommended to put the bougainvillea planter on feet to ensure that the pot is higher above the ground.

This stops water from accumulating underneath the pot, which allows it to drain faster and increase airflow at the bottom of the pot. This will also aid in helping the soil to dry between watering sessions especially in climates with high humidity or heavy rainfall.

(Read my article on on how you can cultivate bougainvillea inside pots).

Key Takeaways

  • Bougainvillea in pots must be watered every week during the Spring and Summer and every 2 or 3 weeks during the fall and winter. Let the soil dry between periods of watering since bougainvillea is drought-resistant and cannot take well to moist soil. Give the plant a good soak instead of just a gentle watering.
  • Pots for bougainvillea which are at least 12 inches in diameter constructed from clay, ceramic or terracotta, rather than metal or plastic. The 12 inches of pot has more soil, so that the pot doesn’t get too dry for the bougainvillea’s roots to absorb moisture during the summer months. Terracotta, clay or ceramic pots are cooler than plastic and metal pots in the full sun.
  • Plant bougainvillea only in soil that is well-drained and in pots that have drainage holes at the base so that excess water can be able to escape after watering, which guarantees the proper balance of drainage and moisture for bougainvillea, and lowers the chance of root decay.


Went from a bad gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)