The good old bougainvillea has been a sight in many gardens. These thorny & ornamental vines stand out for the motley of colors that add plenty of charm to the garden.
What you need to know about bougainvillea
Height: up to 4m
Climate: cold temperate, warm temperate, arid/semi-arid, sub-tropical and tropical.
Soil: Prefers deep, well-drained soil.
Position: full sun.
Flowering: showy flowers of various colors in summer.
Feeding: Regular feeding with a balanced, controlled-release fertilizer.
Watering: regular watering.
Appearance and characteristics of bougainvillea
Bougainvillea is an evergreen climber that’s covered in color in the warmer months. The most common varieties are shades of red, orange, pink and purple, but white and even golden forms are available. The true flower of bougainvillea is a very small cream trumpet. The plant derives its showiness from colored leaves that surround this insignificant flower.
As well as a stunning array of colors, there are also forms with variegated foliage—with the leaves colored green and cream—giving interest even when not in flower.
Once known only as a very large climber, there are now many forms of bougainvillea, including dwarfs, so you can pick one to suit any spot.
How to plant and grow bougainvillea
Bougainvillea really does best when grown in full sun.
As bougainvillea has thorns, it is important to wear strong garden gloves and take a bit of extra care at planting and pruning time.
Bougainvillea can be grown from warm temperate to tropical areas with ease and is very comfortable growing in coastal gardens. The only thing it doesn’t like is cold or frost. Once established, bougainvillea is really very dry-tolerant and will do remarkably well with only an occasional deep watering in warm weather.
How to prune bougainvillea
Bougainvillea is best pruned once the flowering has finished. This is usually in autumn but can be at other times depending on the variety. Remove the length of the stem that has flowered just behind the first flower. If your plant puts out extra-long shoots of growth—known as water shoots—these can be removed altogether.