Your Year Around Flower and Garden Guide

Garden Design  → The Bougainvillea  → Index to Flower Gardening

The bougainvillea plant - A Notorious Climber

The bougainvillea plant is a climber and easily grown, but it does not like frost. It has rather wicked thorns that are used to hook in to other plants as it scrambles its way up to sunlight.

This Plant Loves Heat

The hotter the weather, the better bougainvillea will grow; it doesn't even mind drought, though responds to watering.Greece Bougainvillea Plant Greece Islands, hot and dry are covered with bougainvilleas. This one I found at the Island Kos

The colorful part of the bougainvillea is not the actual flower, which is tiny and insignificant.

What seems to be the flowers are really brightly colored bract's surrounding it.
They come in bright orange, gold, yellow, red and pinks of various hues.

Never Prune the bougainvillea back hard

One thing you should never do with your bougainvillea is prune it back hard, though this is a real temptation when you see it covering over another plant you like. However, resist the temptation because pruning it back hard will cause an excess of thorny growth that simply will not flower.

What if you have to prune the plant

BougainvilleaIf the worst comes to the worst and you really have to prune - or maybe you already did it - then there is one thing you can do and that is apply a product like Better Bloom that tends to slow down the growth and so produces flowers. To prune a bougainvillea properly, you should do a very light prune after flowering. Snip just the tips of those branches off - as if you were cutting the blooms for a vase - or even less.

History of the Bougainvillea

The bougainvillea - a native of Brazil and named for Admiral Louis de Bougainvillea who brought the plant back in 1768 - thrives on neglect. So long as it has warmth it doesn't care for fertilizer or even much water. It can be trained to form a bush rather than be a climber, by pinching back the ends.

Strangely enough, this plant is sterile; it has no seed, but propagates readily by cuttings of 4 to 6 inches long. It often mutates so different varieties are frequently found. The cuttings root readily, but the roots are very fine and will often break off rather than holding the soil together. Therefore, care must be taken when transplanting the cuttings.

If grown in a pot permanently, the outside of the roots can be cut off to about 1 or 2 inches and then it may be re potted into the same size container. For those who live where winters fall below 40 degrees F., the bougainvillea plant must be grown in pots and transferred to a greenhouse for the coldest months.

Gardening Alternatives

Shade Gardens