How to Make a Bonsai Bougainvillea

Bonsai (pronounced as bone sigh) was originated in China about 1200 years ago. Bonsai refers to the plant being miniaturized as well as to the technique used.

You can make a bougainvillea bonsai at home if you know how to make a bonsai plant. Here are step-by-step instructions to make a bonsai bougainvillea.

Related Articles:
Growing Bougainvillea | Training a Bonsai Bougainvillea | Bonsai Bougainvillea Pruning | Bonsai Bougainvillea Care | Forcing Bouigainvillea to bloom

Steps For Making a Bonsai Bougainvillea

Start making your bougainvillea bonsai in Spring.

Plant Selection

Artistic Bonsai Bougainvillea
Artistic Bonsai Bougainvillea
by Bernd-Schmidt
There are several species that can be used. Bougainvillea glabra is the most popular specie used for bonsai.

This bougainvillea has paper like magenta coloured bracts and shiny green leaves.
There are many species also that can be used for a bonsai for different colours.

  1. Bougainvillea glabra: Magenta coloured bracts
  2. Bougainvillea glabra Magnifica: Rose pink bracts
  3. Bougainvillea glabra Snow White: White bracts
  4. Bougainvillea peruviana: Rose pink bracts
  5. Bougainvillea brazilinensis: Pink bracts
  6. Bougainvillea spectabilis: Pink or mauve bracts
  7. Bougainvillea buttiana Golden Glow: Bright yellow bracts
  8. Bougainvillea buttiana Orange King: Orange bracts
  9. Bougainvillea buttiana Mrs. Butt: Crimson bracts
Select a Bougainvillea for making its bonsai. The plants suitable for bonsai should have the following characteristics:
    small leaves
    good twig form
    short inter-nodes
    attractive bark or roots
    survive intense pruning

As the leaf size is not reduced significantly in the bonsai process, large leaves do not look good.

Bougainvillea Plant Preparation

  1. Buy a 7-8 inch tall bougainvillea plant from your nursery. Remove the plant carefully from its pot with out damaging its fibrous roots. Tap off the soil to expose the roots.
  2. Cut off any damaged roots.
  3. Remove weak branches, rotten stems and undesirable branches. You may remove the branches on the lower third of the trunk of an upright bonsai.
  4. Parallel or twisted branches should be removed.
  5. Remove the branches that are thicker in the middle.
  6. Prune the roots, not more than one third, otherwise your plant can die.
  7. Keep the fibrous roots as much as possible.
  8. Cut the circling roots and extra-long woody roots.
  9. Carefully open the the root ball.


  1. Pot: Take a shallow pot with several drainage holes at the bottom and depth equal to the diameter of the bougainvillea's trunk.
  2. Soil Mix: Buy a cacti soil mixture or make your own by mixing equal amounts of potting mix, perlite or river sand, peat moss or coco peat and pine bark.
  3. Potting: Fill the bottom one third of the pot with the soil mixture. Place the bougainvillea at the centre and fill soil covering all the roots, fill the container. Press the soil firmly to keep the plant in upright position.
  4. Watering: Water well until water flows evenly from the drainage holes. Ensure that the foliage and stems are not getting wet while watering.
  5. Fertilizer: Feed your bougainvillea bonsai regularly with diluted water-soluble balanced fertilizer.
  6. Position: Place your bonsai bougainvillea in a sunny location where it can receive light for at least 5 hours a day.


For the soil mix you to mix soil with perlite. What kind of soil are you talking about? Top soil or a potting soil or garden soil or a standard bonsai mix..

Take potting mix will be good.

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