In warm climates, the showy, brightly colored bougainvillea vines romp over walls, fences, and even buildings, brightening landscapes with their vivid colors.
They love bright sunshine. I grew up with them in Australia and didn't think much about them as they were common, thorny, and so vigorous that they needed, almost constantly, to be cut back. Recently, however, I saw some at Hall’s Greenhouse in Bloomington, Indiana and was almost speechless as I suddenly realized how much I had missed them.
What looks like the flowers are actually bracts, with the tiny white flowers growing inside them. The blooms are mostly produced at the tips of the new growth. They bloom from spring through fall, and if the tops of the new branches are pinched off, they branch again.
This tropical plant hails from South America, which explains why in this country it only winters over in zone 9. It was named after Louis Antoine de Bougainville, an 18th-century French navigator.
While it adjusts well to shade in the hot tropics, it dislikes being a houseplant for us during our cold winters because it must have cool nights, hot sunny days, and something to twine around. So, I can't winter them over indoors in our grey cold winters. I can just enjoy them all summer outdoors, while protecting them from the deer. Spray these beauties if you have a severe deer problem!
This is Moya Andrews, and today we focused on bougainvillea.