Answer: Bougainvilleas perform best in full sunshine with soil that's on the dry side. Just hang your new plants in a sunny area and water when the top inch of soil dries out. This might be weekly or daily, depending upon the weather and the sizes of your plants so check frequently by sticking your finger into the soil and watering as necessary. Bougainvilleas will branch out if you pinch out the growing tips of your plants. Since they flower on new growth and pinching encourages new growth, you should have flowers off and on all summer long. Bougainvilleas cannot tolerate frost so you may want to take your plants indoors for the winter months. To keep them growing indoors, provide at least six hours of strong direct sun at a cool room temperature of about 60 to 65 degrees. Water sparingly when their growth slows as overwatering can cause the roots to rot. This is a cyclical bloomer so look for periods of vegetative growth alternating with blooming. If you need to prune, do so right after a blooming spell. If you see them become leggy during the winter, you may want to add a grow light. If you opt to overwinter them resting, leave them outdoors a little longer until temperatures are in the mid forties so they stop growing, then store where the temperature is cool but above freezing, the temperature should be about 40 to 45 degrees. Trim them back when you bring them indoors. Water just enough to keep the soil from going bone dry. In spring, as the weather moderates, gradually acclimate them to being outside again. Resume normal watering and fertilizing as they begin to grow again. Good luck with your bougainvilleas!
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