I got this bougainvillea plant as a gift a week or two ago. I read up on it and it said that it needed direct light for at least 5 hours a day and not a lot of watering. But I live in central Texas and the days are 100 degrees. I would water it about every other day to two days when the soil looked like it was really drying. For now I have brought it in, re-watered it and now I'm not sure what to do with it.

I want to keep it small and shrub like but from what I understand this keeps growing longer unless you cut it back.

Do I need to cut it back and let it re-grow? Or give it time and let it grow bigger before cutting?

Edit for pics. Click on them for closer view.

bougainvillea wilt base

  • 1
    Pictures, please!
    – Stephie
    Jul 22, 2016 at 17:19
  • Added 2 pictures
    – Hush
    Jul 22, 2016 at 20:27
  • Direct sunlight with the temperatures you are having is not good. Shade, some access to breezes. I know little about bougainvillea but I am worried about the depth of the trunk and it might be planted too deeply. Only allow 1 maybe 2 inches from the surface of the soil to the rim. Perhaps taking cuttings and starting again might be in order, but this pot is a bit big for any plant smaller. Is this out doors? Or do you bring it in sometimes with air conditioning. Large temp changes will create major stress and losing leaves shows stress.
    – stormy
    Jul 24, 2016 at 22:35
  • This is technically inside but it doesn't have air conditioning. It's just a breeze way between house and garage. It's not that deep in the dirt I just ran out of soil. The root are probably half an inch to an inch below. It looked like it fit nicer with all the leave. And I don't think it was temp change, it was already loosing leaves outside. I brought it into this halfway room for shade and its stopped now. But the room stays about in the high 80s low 90s rather than the 100+ outside.
    – Hush
    Jul 24, 2016 at 22:55
  • Did you repot it after you got it? Something has shocked the plant to cause it to lose its leaves, and flowers Dec 17, 2016 at 22:51

1 Answer 1


Shock causes it to lose its leaves and flowers. The most common causes are low light levels, frost, and repotting. It sounds like the latter was the cause, and it's now recovered with leaves and flowers.

Bougainvillaeas originally came from Brazil so it's a semi-tropical plant. Therefore the best time to trim it is when there's no danger of frost, and before the new growth gets established. So, trim in Spring after the last frost.

  • You wouldn't happen to know the best time to trim bougainvilleas would you? I would figure early spring maybe?
    – Hush
    Dec 18, 2016 at 15:30

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