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.

Species of Bougainvillea

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  • Bougainvillea spectabilis
  • Bougainvillea glabra
  • Bougainvillea peruviana

Bougainvillea spectabilis is a large climber with distinctive curved thorns, and hair on stems and leaves. The bracts are crinkled, fairly large, egg-shaped, and possess colors in the rose, rusty-red, and purple. Flowers are cream in color, slender, with very hairy tubes. Leaves are large, ovate to rounded, leathery in texture and hairy underneath. The bark is pale and corky. Branching is close and short, giving rise to a very dense plant. The first species collected, it was described from dried specimens by Willdenow (1798).

Bougainvillea glabra has thinner branches that spread in many directions and have distinctive pointed triangle-shaped bracts that come in a range of whites, lilacs, mauves, and purples. Thorns are short, thin, and curved at the tips. Leaves are fairly evenly elliptical, widest about the middle. The small cream flowers are relatively big and tube-shaped. The also tend to flower virtually continuously, and often down the entire length of the branch. Originally described and named by Choisy (1849).

Bougainvillea peruviana has a branching habit that is looser and more open. This is a climbing, spiny, spreading shrub with greenish bark. Thorns (spines) are thin, straight in youth and curved when older. Leaves are thin and ovate to broadly ovate. The small roundish bracts, usually in light to dark magenta colors, are quite delicate to the touch, and are crinkly in appearance. Flowering is recurrent after strong vegetative growth in response to dry weather. This species was described and named by Humbold and Bonpland (1808).

Bougainvillea Photo Gallery

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Just a random collection of bougainvillea images! Enjoy!

Bougainvillea Flowers originated in Brazil and are popular anywhere that is hot. Bougainvillea Flowers need very little water to thrive and can grow in any sunny area. Bougainvillea Flowers Bracts come in a variety of colors such as pink, purple, red, orange, yellow and white. The Bougainvillea flowers bracts are actually what give the bougainvillea flower its color. This page is for people who love the Bougainvillea flowers. There are videos for care of Bougainvillea flowers, pictures of bougainvillea flowers and bougainvillea flowers gifts.

The actual flowers of the Bougainvillea plant does not come from the flowers themselves. The flower itself is a small white cluster of three flowers surrounded by 3 or 6 bracts which are the actual vibrant colors that you love. Bougainvillea Flowers and bracts are surrounding the Hawaiian island coastal areas because of their beautiful and rich colors. Bougainvillea flowers have a high tolerance to salt, which makes them a ideal choice in beach resort areas.

Bougainvillea flowers will thrive all year long in tropical and warm climate zones.

Video: Bougainvillea Bonsai

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Bouganvillea Information

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Bougainvillea Bloom Season in North America

Bougainvilleas' natural habitat is equatorial where day and night lengths are almost equal. Bougainvilleas in these areas tend to bloom year round, but in North America, best blooming occurs when the night length and day length are almost equal (in spring or fall). In winter, blooming is better than in the dog days of August because of night length. Also, some cultivars are triggered to bloom after a rainy season followed by a dry season.

Best Climate for Bougainvillea

Bougainvilleas are tropical and must be protected from frost. In Zone 8 and cooler, you are almost limited to growing them in some kind of container unless you treat them as an Annual (plant a new plant outdoors each year) -- which works fine if you obtain a large plant in the Spring.

Bougainvilleas thrive in full sun. At least 5 hours a day of full sunlight is the minimal light required for good bloom. More hours of direct sun is better. Less than 5 hours and the plant may not bloom very well. In shade or partial shade, you will have nice vegetative growth, but little or no bloom.

A Bougainvillea just doesn't bloom well indoors. If possible, keep your plant outdoors (in the maximum sun available). If placed on a porch, patio or balcony, where the plant receives at least 5 hours of sun each day (afternoon sun is best), then it should bloom just fine.

A bougainvillea likes high humidity just before it comes into bloom. Once bloom has been initiated, then it will tolerate less humidity.

Bougainvillea has two distinct growth cycles:

A vegetative growth period for several weeks -- when new leaves and stems grow.

If the plant receives enough sunlight the plant will form buds during this time. If there is not enough sunlight, the plant will remain in vegetative cycle. A blooming period of several weeks when little or no vegetative growth occurs.

The length of time they will bloom is dependent upon the health of the plant and the environment they are in, the more sun and heat, the better. However, long days and short nights (July and August in Florida) limit a bougainvilleas ability to bloom.

Drainage is Essential

Notice the saucers on the pot and also on the hanging basket. If you use these type containers, I strongly recommend that you take the saucer off -- you will damage bougainvillea roots if the plant stands in water or the water can't drain completely from the pot.

Growing Bougainvilleas

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These vines are heavy feeders and respond best to feeding every week or two with ½ strength water soluble fertilizer, e.g., BOUGAIN Bloom Boost from BGI. With high light and consistent feeding, the plants will bloom at least 11 months of the year.


Bougainvilleas flower best under stress. Keep your bougainvillea slightly on the dry side, and allow the plant to become root bound. In containers they should be watered frequently so the soil feels nicely moist but never soggy. Water thoroughly, then allow to become moderately dry between waterings. They respond extremely well to stress, such as drought and heat, and reward you with excellent bloom. Even with a tolerance for drought, however, you end up watering plants nearly every day because of the small root system. Irrigate enough at each watering so that the water comes through the drain holes in the bottom of the container.

Container Growing

Bougainvilleas do best in large (5-10 gallon) clay containers if grown outdoors (clay containers tend to stay drier, thus stressing the plants) or in large handing baskets. The 10" basket is the commercial standard, but plants will do much better in 12" hanging baskets. Place the containers in full sun, or in a place where they will receive at least ½ day of full sun. If your bougainvillea is not blooming, it probably is not receiving enough sun or fertilizer. These plants thrive in the tropics in areas of low rainfall and intense sun and heat. A well drained bougainvillea potting soil, like BGI Select Quick-Draining Potting & Garden Soil for growing Bougainvillea.

Which Bougainvillea Color "Wows" the Best?

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Here's one for the ages... of all the bougainvillea varieties and colors out there, which color turns the most heads? In YOUR opinion, which is the greatest show stopper?  We're providing you with a list of varieties, go visit then come back and comment below!

  1. Ambiance - Bougainvillea
  2. Barbara Karst - Bougainvillea
  3. Elizabeth Angus - Bougainvillea
  4. Flavored ICE Series - Bougainvillea
  5. Helen Johnson - Bougainvillea
  6. Imperial Delight - Bougainvillea
  7. Lady Baring - Bougainvillea
  8. Miami Pink - Bougainvillea
  9. Miss Alice - Bougainvillea
  10. New River - Bougainvillea
  11. Silhouette - Bougainvillea
  12. Sundown Orange - Bougainvillea
  13. Vera Deep Purple - Bougainvillea

Video: How to prune and pinch Bougainvillea

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This seems to be one topic many people cannot get enough of... I believe it's 3 parts psychological, 1 part unknowing.  You see, the concept of pruning and pinching bougainvillea is about as old as bougainvillea itself.  But even as the years elapse, many still don't understand why or how to prune bougainvillea.

The psychological aspect is rather simple to explain: the brains ineptitude to exercise harm, knowingly, is difficult to execute.  No one wants to grab shears and hack away at a plant for fear of hurting it or worse, destroying it.  But the truth is, is if you want to maximize your bougainvilleas ability to bloom, pinching is essential. Pinching bougainvillea produces leaf-buds, and leaf-buds produce new growth, and bougainvillea only bloom on new growth.

One prunes in order to  contain growth.  If you like a wild & outward growth, don't prune. If you like a contained, stronger growth then consider pruning your bougainvillea on a set schedule.

The video below, will teach you how to prune your bougainvillea:

Wait a minute? How do I pinch bougainvillea?  Ahh... you are a sharp student.  We do not have a video for you at this time, however, we do have some high-resolution images and a succinct set of instructions on how to pinch your bougainvillea.