If you’ve ever wondered about adding Bougainvillea for some summer color dress maybe this picture will make you think twice. This plant tops about at about 8 feet and is completely dressed with color from head to toe.
Bougainvillea is found in many landscapes not only in south Florida but all across the southeast and California. Bougainvillea care is not difficult when planted in the ground but container care does require a watchful eye. Don’t let them dry out!
The ‘boug” is usually grown as bushes but standards are beginning to find their way in as a spring flowering addition.
The popular Bougainvillea plant derives its name from the paper-thin, brilliantly colored bracts, or scale-like leaves, that form perky geometric frames around the small flowers.
A lax-stemmed, woody perennial in the South, the bougainvillea is a showy subject in Northern greenhouses and in containers in gardens, and for indoors in a large sunny window. It is even tolerant of seashore growing conditions. Originally, the dominant color was magenta-purple; but their are many exotic shades of salmon, orange, gold, and red.
Bougainvillea – Good Soil and Drainage
These plants are content with any good soil, as long as drainage is provided for. They flower best when they receive full sun, and in temperatures no less than 60 degrees. Summer and early fall is the season of active growth, when flower buds are set; generous feeding is helpful during that time. Flowering is reputedly in spring, but my vines – and others I have known – have flowered at intervals during the year. Transplant or repot with as little root disturbance as possible. If the vine is frostbitten, simply cut it back to living wood.
Pruning Bougainvillea May Be Necessary
Pruning is necessary to keep the plants within bounds. After flowering, cut back the season’s growth severely, and remove all thin, weak, or ailing branches. The less dense the vine, the more outstandingly decorative. Propagate by seeds, when available, or by spring stem cuttings rooted in heat and humidity. Among the colorful species varieties offered are:
Bougainvillea glabra – The familiar magenta species. Its variety sanderiana is more generous with flowers. Another variety, harrisi, has gray-green foliage variegated with splashes of white. This little beauty flowered for me, in almost transparent lavender, when it was only four inches tall.
Bougainvillea spectabilis (braziliensis) – Hardiest species, with somewhat furry foliage and red-purple blooms.
Common Name: Paper Flower