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Last Update 06/03/08

Plant of the Month



Voted one of the world's most beautiful vines (Edwin A. Menninger, Flowering Vines of the World), Bougainvillea is a robust and spectacular evergreen or semi-evergreen climber.  The beauty of the Bougainvillea lies in the bracts surrounding the small and inconspicuous flowers.  The bracts' range of colors includes the classic red, purple, orange, apricot, white, pink, cream, yellow and bi-color mutations.  Some cultivars even exhibit variegated leaves.  Of the family Nyctaginaceae it is well known as Bougainvillea the world over.  It is easy to grow and loves warmth and sun.  Bougainvillea is native to Tropical and Sub-tropical South America.


Bougainvillea multi-colors

Click image above to enlarge

Bougainvillea close-up of flowers

Click image above to enlarge

Plant Facts:

Common Name:  Bougainvillea

Botanical Name:  Bougainvillea

Family:  Nyctaginaceae

Plant Type:  Evergreen or Partly Deciduous sometimes thorny Climber

Origin: Tropical and Sub-tropical South America

Zones: 9 - 12, Sub-tropical -- withstands light frost or short cold spells down to 32 if kept fairly dry in winter, may loose some leaves.

Height:  Rambles over arbor, pergola, tree and house -- prune to keep in check and for best show.  Can be shaped as shrubs or standards.

Rate of Growth: Medium

Salt Tolerance: Very Salt Tolerant

Soil Requirements:  Fertile, well-drained soil

Water Requirements: Water freely spring to autumn, keep almost dry in winter

Nutritional Requirements: Balanced liquid fertilizer monthly, Top-dress in late winter

Light Requirements: Full sun

Form:  Vine, shrub or standard

Leaves:  Ovate -- rich green or variegated, colorful bracts surrounding small tubular flowers

Flowers:  Classic Red, Purple, Orange, Apricot, White, Pink, Cream, Yellow, Bi-color mutations -- blooms Year-round

Fruits: None

Pests:  Spider mites, white flies, leaf cutters and rollers, aphids, bacterial and fungal leaf spots

Uses:  Vine, Shrub or Standard -- show piece

Bad Habits: Must be pruned to keep from getting too rambunctious

Cost:  $$ to $$$ -- reasonable to expensive

Propagation:   Semi-ripe cuttings, hardwood cuttings, or layer

Sources:   A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants, The Subtropical Garden

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