Bougainvillea are an immensely showy, floriferous and hardy plant. Virtually pest-free and disease resistant, it rewards its owner with an abundance of color and vitality when it is well looked after.

Care & Maintenance: Helen Johnson Dwarf Problems

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With support from Bougainvillea Expert: Kellie P.

Several weeks ago I purchased 15 BGI Helen Johnson Dwarfs for planting in South Florida. At the time of purchase the leaves were intensly green with heavy blossoms. I have planted them in a row, hoping for a colorful and manageable hedge. They receive direct sun for 60-70% of the day. I have watered them every other day, trying not to either under or over water. For the most part the blossoms have all dropped. In several cases the leaves have also dropped exposing bare stems. In two plants the leaves are turning yellow and dropping. What I am doing wrong?

It sounds like you're over-watering them. Reduce the watering to only "as needed". If you live in South Florida, you'll remember that we had heavy, frequent rains for the past week. During those rainy spells, there's no need to water your bougainvillea. Check out our watering section of our website for details. In addition to the rains, the cooler weather is also playing a part in the thinning of bougainvillea plants. With night time temperatures in the low 40's and 50''s bound to have an effect on new plantings - especially smaller plantings like your 2 gallons. It looks like better weather is ahead so your bougainvillea should come back soon. Fertilize with Bougain, water only as needed, and if we get some better, dry weather, you should start to see new buds in 2-3 weeks.

Bougainvillea Jewelry

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Hand-crafted by artisans in Montreal, each bougainvillea is a one-of-a-kind work of art. As unique as a snowflake or fingerprint, each bougainvillea varies as found in nature. 

Bougainvillea bracts are carefully pressed at the peak of their vibrancy, encapsulated in clear resin, and polished to a supreme finish, making them water-proof and durable. 

Each pendant is a unique work of art reflecting a personality of their own, and adds an air of playfulness and natural beauty to any individual.

Pendants are lightweight and vary in size, but are on average 1.5"H X 1"W.

Color ranges from pink (both dark and light), fuchsia, and purple.

Pendant has silver hardware, and hangs on a 17" silver thread-like chain that is almost invisible when worn, so it appears that the pendant is "floating". The chain is adjustable to 18.5" length.

Each pendant necklace arrives boxed in a decorative silver-foil box, so it's ready to send immediately as a gift! A thoughtful, uncommon gift for anyone who loves color, flowers, nature, or unique jewelry.

Order Your Bougainvillea Jewelry Today!

DVD, Bougainvillea Magic

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This highly informative DVD was filmed on location at BGI. It contains all the care and maintenance secrets you need to grow incredible, blooming bougainvillea.

Video Length: 19 min, 35 sec
Buy DVD: Bougainvillea Magic

Brighten Up Your Life with Bougainvillea

| Posted on 6:27 AM | Posted in ,

This soft cover book of 98 pages is sure to influence your love for bougainvillea, once more.

American Nurseryman Review

“This book is designed not only for the specialist horticulturist but for the weekend occasional gardener as well. It has a step-by-step approach that encourages rather than intimidates the average casual gardener who likes to potter around.

Eric Simon provides an abundance of colored photographs of these versatile plants set around the house and in public places. This is an imaginative approach to demonstrate that with some creativity, a house can be transformed into a home and a public place, a park. These photographs from his own collection, taken over the years, add a personal touch to this book, compiled and written with patience, knowledge and good humor.

This book is not so much about the physiology or the history of the bougainvillea. It is rather a book that is dedicated to helping the keen tropical gardener get the very best out of his collection, from plant selection to planting, pruning and all the maintenance work necessary to promote new growth.”

Book Contents:
  • Foreword
  • Introduction
  • History
  • How to Grow
  • Climate/Site Conditions
  • Soil Preparation
  • Planting
  • Ground Planting
  • Watering
  • Fertilizing
  • Beware of Wandering Roots and Watershoots
  • Pruning
  • Propagation
  • Stem Cutting
  • Wedge Grafting
  • Root Grafting
  • Tip Layering
  • Practical Tips & Interesting Observations
  • Making a Successful Living With Bougainvillea
  • Landscaping With Bougainvillea
  • Where to See Bougainvillea
  • The Common Varieties
  • Acknowledgments
Written by Eric Simon, horticultural consultant to the property development sector in Kuala Lumpur, President of the Selangor and Federal Territory Gardening Society, and active committee member of the Orchid Society of Malaysia.

Buy The Book: Brighten Up Your Life with Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea Standard

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A bougainvillea standard or bougainvillea tree is great for is great for landscaping. Bougainvillea standard have strong, twisted (braided) trunks that make it durable and straight. For an optimal look, ensure your bougainvillea standard is a minimum of 3 to 4 feet in height before planting.

In some cases, a good stake is needed for support until the trunk is thick enough to support the crown - this may take several years.

You can purchase bougainvillea standard from Bougainvillea Growers International.

Bougainvillea Availability by Video

| Posted on 7:54 AM | Posted in

Bougainvillea Growers International is revolutionizing the way wholesalers, landscape architects, and garden centers buy wholesale bougainvillea.

The days of spreadsheets and static data are virtually gone, instead, get a live video representation of what is available for you to buy. Judge your purchasing power by the quality of the inventory, not by the name or price.

Learn more about BGI's Bougainvillea Availability videos.

You can also learn more about bougainvillea by watching their product profile videos.

Rid Common Pests & Diseases from your Bougainvillea

| Posted on 10:07 AM | Posted in

A part of the bougainvillea’s appeal is that they are relatively disease and pest-free plants. It is NOT common for your bougainvillea to be affected by these pests and diseases if you follow simple rules for bougainvillea plant care, and fertilize with Bougain® which contains a significant amount of micro-nutrients – vital for healthy, blooming bougainvillea. Visit this page which contains most (but not all) common pests/diseases that may affect your bougainvillea.

  • Aphids (Greenfly, Blackfly, or Plant Lice)
  • Caterpillars (Bougainvillea Looper)
  • Leaf Miners (Moths, Flies, Beetles, Wasps)
  • Scale Insects (Parasites, Mealybugs)
  • Snails & Slugs
  • Mites (Spider Mites)
  • Thrips
  • Whitefly
  • Common Diseases
  • Deficiency Signs

On the rare occurrences that your bougainvillea experiences pest problems or disease, always try the least toxic method of pest control as your first step. If you use chemical pesticides to control insect pests, you will also kill natural predators. If you choose a chemical control, follow directions and guidelines closely and always wear protective clothing and safety gear including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, neoprene gloves, goggles and a respirator. Chemical pesticides are not recommended for use inside the home.

Bougainvillea History

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A native to coastal Brazil, the bougainvillea was discovered in 1768 in Rio de Janeiro by French naturalist Dr. Philibert Commerçon (also sometimes spelled Commerson). The plant is named after his close friend and ship's admiral Louis-Antoine de Bougainville, who commanded the ship La Boudeuse that sailed around the world between 1766-1769, and in which Commerçon was a passenger.

Twenty years after Commerçon's discovery, it was first published as 'Buginvillea' in Genera Plantarium by A.L. de Jusseau in 1789. The genus was subsequently split in several ways until it was finally corrected to 'Bougainvillea' in the Index Kewensis in the 1930s. Originally, B. spectabilis and B. glabra were hardly differentiated until the mid 1980s when botanists recognized them to be totally distinct species. In early 19th century, these two species were the first to be introduced into Europe, and soon, nurseries in France and England did a thriving trade providing specimens to Australia and other faraway countries. Meanwhile, Kew Gardens distributed plants it had propagated to British colonies throughout the world. Soon thereafter, an important event in the history of bougainvillea took place with the discovery of a crimson bougainvillea in Cartagena, a Spanish port in the Mediterranean, by Mrs. R.V. Butt. Originally thought to be a distinct species, it was named B. buttiana in her honour. However, it was later discovered to be a natural hybrid of a variety of B. glabra and possibly B. peruviana - a "local pink bougainvillea" from Peru. Natural hybrids were soon found to be common occurrences all over the world. For instance, around the 1930s, when the three species were grown together, many hybrid crosses were created almost spontaneously in East Africa, India, the Canary Islands, Australia, North America, and the Philippines.

Scientific classification

Kingdom - Plantae
Division - Magnoliophyta
Class - Magnoliopsida
Order - Caryophyllales
Family - Nyctaginaceae
Genus - Bougainvillea
Species - Bougainvillea spectabilis
Bougainvillea glabra
Bougainvillea peruviana
Cultivar (or variety)

Note about Species: Many of today's bougainvillea are the result of interbreeding among only three out of the eighteen South American species recognized by botanists.

Note about Cultivars: Currently, there are over 300 varieties of bougainvillea around the world. Because many of the hybrids have been crossed over several generations, it's difficult to identify their respective origins. Natural mutations seem to occur spontaneously throughout the world; wherever large numbers of plants are being produced, bud-sports will occur. This had led to multiple names for the same cultivar (or variety) and has added to the confusion over the names of bougainvillea cultivars.

Bougainvillea Cultivation and Uses

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Bougainvilleas are popular ornamental plants in most areas with warm climates, including Indonesia, Aruba, the Philippines, Thailand, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Australia, Singapore, the Mediterranean region, the Caribbean, Mexico, South Africa, Kuwait,and the United States in Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, South Carolina, and southern Texas.

Numerous cultivars and hybrids have been selected, including nearly thornless shrubs. Some Bougainvillea cultivars are sterile, and are propagated from cuttings.

Bougainvillea are rapid growing and flower all year in warm climates, especially when pinched or pruned. They grow best in moist fertile soil. Bloom cycles are typically four to six weeks. Bougainvillea grow best in very bright full sun and with frequent fertilization, but the plant requires little water to flower. As indoor houseplants in temperate regions, they can be kept small by bonsai techniques. If overwatered, Bougainvillea will not flower and may lose leaves or wilt, or even die from root decay.

When should bougainvillea be repotted, and with what?

| Posted on 1:54 PM | Posted in

Repotting Bougainvillea

A bougainvillea blooms best when pot-bound. So, do not be tempted to repot unless you must. I have found that it is best to leave the bougainvillea plant in its original container until the roots have replaced all of the soil and you can't keep the plant well watered.

Soil suitable for Bougainvillea

Bougainvilleas will thrive in almost any soil as long as it is well-drained and fertile. Soils that work for other plants you grow will be fine for your bougainvillea. It is important to select a growing medium that drains well but that will also help keep plants from drying out between waterings. Keeping containers moist yet well drained is the most important key to successful bougainvillea culture in containers.

Field soils are generally unsatisfactory for growing bougainvillea in containers. This is primarily because soils do not provide the aeration, drainage and water holding capacity required. To improve this situation several "soil-less" growing media have been developed.

The best growing mixture is one that is soil-less. Soil-less media are free of any disease pathogens, insect pests, and weed seeds. They are also generally lightweight and porous, allowing for a well-drained yet moisture-retentive mix. Premixed growing media are available from garden centers. However, be careful not to use peat or peatlite mixes alone. By themselves, these media tend to become compacted, too lightweight, and hard to wet. My greatest problem with peat/peatlite mixes is when the soil dries completely, the rootball will pull away from the side of the pot, and it is almost impossible to completely wet the soil again -- the water simply runs down the side of the container and drains out the bottom. If your plant dries out and you use this type of mix, to re-wet it, let the pot sit in a pail of water until the soil ball is completely wet.

Mix Your Own Soil

You can create your own blend of soil mix by using peat moss, vermiculite or perlite, sterile potting soil or composted soil mix, and coarse builder's sand. Note: Ph of the soil is very important. If you mix your own soil, then you should consider the following: Bougainvillea plant prefer a pH in the 6.0 to 6.5 range.

Some commercially prepared growing mixtures have an added wetting agent which is a great help when it comes to planting and watering. You may also consider adding water-absorbing polymers or "gel" that absorbs and retains up to 400 times its weight in water. Polymers are nontoxic and last for a number of years before breaking down in the environment.
Here is the mix I used in my nursery for bougainvillea:
  • 70% Horticultural peat moss
  • 20% Pine Bark (old bark) - In North Florida, pine bark is a cheap and readily available ingredient.
  • 10% River Sand.
The amount of lime added was always based on soil testing and it varies.

A commonly used soil-less mixture:
  • 1 part garden soil (not clay)
  • 1 part washed builder's sand, perlite, or pumice 
  • 1 part horticultural peat moss 
  • 1 quart steamed bonemeal per bushel (8 gallons) of mixture 
  • 1 pint dolomite lime per bushel of soil mix

Mix all ingredients thoroughly by shoveling them from one pile to another at least three times. Pulverize any large lumps or clods as you mix. When thoroughly mixed add sufficient water to moisten the mixture and store in a sheltered spot until you are ready to use it. A garbage can, wastebasket, or large bucket makes a handy storage container.

This general potting mixture provides a suitable growth medium for most container plants, including vegetables, bedding plants, geraniums, begonias, fuchsias, and ivies. But, for bougainvillea I found that the 70%peat, 20%pine bark and 10%sand with the amount of dolomite lime always depending upon soil testing -- however, you should be able to use the above mixture with excellent results for your bougainvillea.

Before using your mix to repot plants, be sure it is damp. Totally dry soil mixture is difficult to handle and may damage tender roots before the plant is watered.

Table 1. Commonly used soil-less mixtures.

Volume Ratio Components
2:1 Peat, Perlite
2:1:1 Peat, Perlite, Vermiculite
3:1:1 Peat, Perlite, Vermiculite
2:1:1 Peat, Bark, Sand
2:1:1 Peat, Bark, Perlite
3:1:1 Peat, Bark, Sand

Bougainvillea Fertilizer

| Posted on 7:03 AM | Posted in

BOUGAIN® is quickly becoming the favorite plant food among bougainvillea enthusiasts.  Not only is it formulated to dramatically increase blooms, it addresses the bougainvillea’s Achilles heel - their thin and brittle root system.  It is our pleasure to introduce BOUGAIN®, the only bougainvillea-specific fertilizer on the market today.  Ten years of research and testing led to perfecting our patented specialty food that dramatically increases blooms, strengthens roots, increases color vibrancy in both foliage and bracts, and produces an all-over healthy bougainvillea.

Scent-sational: An evening surrounded by tropical splendour

| Posted on 7:23 AM | Posted in

By Steve Whysall, Vancouver sun

Walking into Umberto Garbuio's garden at night is like walking into a perfume shop: the garden is drenched in the most heavenly fragrances.

At this time of year, Garbuio's garden in Burnaby is probably the most fragrant garden in Canada. It is, after all, almost October and yet his garden is brimming with some of most heavily scented plants on the planet.

And it is not merely the rare and exotic nature of the plants that make this garden unique, but the size of them: they are, by any standards, very large, mature specimens indeed.

There are towering angel's trumpets (Brugmansia) everywhere. Peach-coloured ones. Yellow ones. And an enormous white variety, that is at least four meters (13 feet) high and is weighed down with dozens of super-fragrant blooms.

The scent of these frost-tender plants, which are native to South America, is so intense it spills over into the street and often stops people in their tracks as they walk along the sidewalk.

In the back yard, along with exotic plants, such as blue plumbago and the Congo Cockatoo plant (Impatiens niamniamensis), Garbuio has at least half a dozen pots filled with the massively fragrant night-scented jasmine (Cestrum nocturnum), which also goes by the name Lady of the Night.

Indigenous to the West Indies, it has beautiful, white tube-shaped flowers that are bunched together in dense, loose clusters. These flowers release the full-strength of their fragrance at night. The sweetness of the scent is described as "intoxicating" by Gardino, a Florida nursery specializing in rare and unusual plants.

In some parts of the world, including Australia, New Zealand and parts of the southern U.S., cestrum has become an invasive, nuisance plant and is regarded as a weed.

But here in Canada, it is a tender specialty, much sought after by collectors of exotic plants, and needs to be brought into a frost-free place for winter. Garbuio keeps his in a heated greenhouse during the cold season.

Later this month, Garbuio's Queen of the Night plant (Epiphyllum oxypetalum) - also known as the Dutchman's pipe cactus - will burst into flower.

These large, white flowers also have a sensational fragrance.

Native to South America, the plant blooms just once a year, producing extraordinary flowers, which can measure 20 cm (eight inches) across.

They open at night, usually after 8 p.m. Enthusiasts say it almost always opens on a night with a full moon. Once open, the flowers, which are made up of a dense ruffle of soft white petals, breathe an unforgettable honey-like fragrance into the air.

In past years, Garbuio has organized special Queen-of-the-Night parties, so friends can be present to witness this once a year spectacular.

And being Italian, he supplies his guest with his home-made wine to toast the beauty of the blooms.

To complete the tropical feel of his garden, Garbuio also grows dozens of fuchsias, bougainvillea, pelargoniums, canna lilies, hardy banana trees, windmill palms, cactus and succulents.

He also has one of the largest Italian fig trees in B.C. plus grape and kiwi vines that produce bumper crops.

"My grandson once told me I had too many plants, so I told him he had too many toys, and he said, 'No, I don't' and I said, 'Neither do I."

It is true, however, that many of his plants have to be carefully packed away in a warm greenhouse for winter. That is a lot of work every October.

Still, Garbuio, 77, who has been garden all his life, says the pleasure he gets from his fantastically fragrant garden is worth all the effort.

Grow Bougainvillea; add color and beauty to the landscape

| Posted on 10:51 PM | Posted in

Bougainvillea tree, the very name reminds you of the fuchsia flowers delicately hanging from the boughs of a thorny creeper. Whether the fragile beauty of the pink bougainvillea flowers or the white patina of the bougainvillea blooms, it is the very delicate sheen of the plant, which diffuses the magic of dream and joy amidst its color and beauty.

A native of Brazil, the bougainvillea was first spotted by the French botanist Philibert Commerson in the year 1760 and named it bouganvillea after his friend and captain, Louis A. de Bougainville, a noted lawyer, mathematician, and explorer from Canada. Hence began the journey of bougainvillea tree as one of the most sought after plants for decorative purpose.

Bougainvillea with crisp, paper like flower is easy to grow. Being a tropical plant, sunshine and plenty of water are two important factors, needed for its growth. Neither frost nor chilly wind is welcome by the bougainvillea plant. Warm climate is therefore the ideal season to plant the bougainvillea.

Although, bougainvillea loves the dry and warm climate yet do not fail to water them daily. Regular watering and 5-6 hours of constant sunshine will make your bougainvillea to bloom better.

Supply your bougainvillea plant with a phosphorus, iron and magnesium enriched fertilizer, depending upon the soil type. For a healthy growth you need to prune your bougainvillea during the end of the winter or latest by the early spring. If you have a healthy flowering bougainvillea, then start making more plants from the mother tree.

Cut sections of around 6 inches long and immerse them in rooting hormones. Strip off the bottom leaves and also moisten the section before you plant it into small pots, filled with fertilizer and sand. Keep an eye to the growth and only after they visibly develop the roots transplant the bougainvillea plant to a sunny spot in your garden. However, ensure not to disturb their cantankerous root whilst replanting.

How to replant your bougainvillea

Dig a hole twice as wide as the root ball and as deep as the pot.

Set the bougainvillea shrub in the hole and now gently slide the pot from around the root area.

Do not drop the plant while replanting. Also do not tamp on the planted area with your boot.

Gently handle your bougainvillea vine to add that little extra to your landscape with the delicate shimmer of the bougainvillea flowers.

Bougainvillea bonsai; keeping your miniature bougainvillea alive

| Posted on 10:41 PM | Posted in

Small flowering bougainvillea sitting at the corner of your room or hanging from the balcony is indeed the most sought after item for decor. Whether to decorate your living room, or to add a woody touch to your study corner, or to create a dramatic ambiance to your terrace a bougainvillea bonsai is indeed a must choice. .

Bonsai trees normally does not bear flower and the only difference is the bougainvillea bonsai, which is sure to amuse you with its color and beauty. Belonging to the Nyctaginaceae family, which is part tree and part vine, bougainvillea bonsai can be kept almost anywhere and everywhere. Be it indoor or outdoor, your bougainvillea bonsai with its parade of color will definitely silhouette the ambiance for you.

However, proper care is indeed necessary to maintain the health of your miniature bougainvillea. Issues like watering, lighting; feeding, temperature, re potting and styling are all important factors in determining the health of the bougainvillea bonsai.

Temperature and lighting for the bougainvillea bonsai

Bougainvillea is a tropical plant and quite ideally therefore the bonsai also likes to be in direct and adequate sunlight. However be careful of not letting your bougainvillea bonsai to experience sunburn. This will in turn damage its freshness. Bougainvillea bonsai should be kept in a temp ranging from 49-54 degree F.

Watering of the bougainvillea bonsai

Bougainvillea bonsai does not require regular or continuous watering rather , the miniature tree likes it dry for most of the season. However, during the flowering period an increased amount of watering ensures better result.

Fertilization of the bougainvillea bonsai plant

Supply your bougainvillea plant with a phosphorus, iron and magnesium enriched fertilizer, depending upon the soil type

Pruning and styling of the bougainvillea bonsai

One technique that will help your bougainvillea bonsai to look good throughout the year is proper pruning. Prune this bonsai at any point of time of the year. Cut the new growth every month when the plant is young. This will indeed help in promoting a bushy plant. Cut back the branches if you feel that the bonsai has overgrown.

Pruning the Roots

Apart from pruning the braches if you find that the roots are getting bigger then you need to prune the bonsai to replant it in a larger pot. You may then even cut a small portion to start making smaller bougainvillea bonsais.

Keeping your bougainvillea bonsai alive is easy and fun. All you need is your love and care, attention and your personal touch, for which the little plant crave for. Give it your little time and your bougainvillea bonsai will gift you back a fusion of dream, beauty, color and joy.