Bougainvillea, sing your song
For my lover, for my love…
Common name : Bougainvillea
Scientific name : Bougainvillea spp.
Family : Nyctaginaceae
Category : Climbing plants
Type of plant : Perennial
Bougainvillea is a genus of thorny ornamental vines, bushes, and trees with flower-like spring leaves near its flowers.
Bougainvillea are popular ornamental plants in most areas with warm climates.
Although it is frost-sensitive, bougainvillea can be used as a houseplant or hanging basket in cooler climates. In the landscape, it makes an excellent hot season plant, and its drought tolerance makes it ideal for warm climates year-round. Its high salt tolerance makes it a natural choice for colour in coastal regions. It can be pruned into a standard, but is also grown along fence lines, on walls, in containers and hanging baskets, and as a hedge or an accent plant. Its long arching thorny branches bear heart-shaped leaves and masses of papery bracts in white, pink, orange, purple, and burgundy. Many cultivars, including double-flowered and variegated, are available.
Many of today's bougainvillea are the result of interbreeding among only three out of the eighteen South American species recognised by botanists. Currently, there are over 300 varieties of bougainvillea around the world. Because many of the hybrids have been crossed over several generations, it is 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.
These are thorny climbing shrubs with bright colors that are not due to flowers.
Flowers are small and white, and it is the bracts of the end of the twigs that surround them that offer various colors: pink, red, orange, yellow, white.
Plant my bougainvillea
In open soil or in pot? It's simple, if at home the temperature drops permanently below 5 ° C, it will be in pot!
It is easily found in shops in the spring, in pots often of already substantial size. Do not leave your ophiopogon in the original pot, but repot it in a slightly larger pot - terracotta! Plant in the spring in a sheltered and sunny place.
The ophiopogon calls for a rich and well-drained soil because it dreads when its roots stagnate in the water. In the open soil, choose a slightly sunny location, even in the semi shade.
Water copiously to facilitate rooting.
Water my bougainvillea
Bougainvillea supports very well dryness when it is well rooted.
Besides, the less it is watered, the more it blooms! For a balanced plant, help by watering during growing season.
In pots, water when the susbtrate become dry, and during winter, indoors, watering once a month should suffice.
In open soil, waterings should be moderate, except in case of intense drought.
Prune my bougainvillea
Pruning the bougainvillea is not really essential, it is even discouraged when it is too severe! The flowers appear on the wood of the previous year and a trimming would therefore remove the chances of flowering!
However, you may need to balance the branches to prevent your shrub from becoming asymetrical. Avoid in this case to cut all the bougainvillea, but proceed slowly, season after season.
Prune imperatively at the end of winter, after any risk of frost.
Protect my bougainvillea
Your bougainvillea is non-hardy - it will not survive a frost episode!
If your plant is outside and you dread a very cold period, mulch your foot and protect your plant with a veil for wintering.
Shelter my bougainvillea
If your plant is in a pot and you have a sheltered place with a minimum temperature of 10 ° C, sufficiently bright, bring it inside for wintering, before the first frosts.
Water very little during the winter. You can take it out again in May.
Put outside my bougainvillea
Well after the last frosts, get out, if you can, your bougainvillea in pot and put it in a sheltered, sunny place!
Fertilize my bougainvillea
You can add, if necessary, before and during flowering, a liquid fertilizer to stimulate flowering.
Wood ashes can also just do the trick! In any case reduce the amount of fertilizer at the end of the summer and stop completely in early autumn.
Take care of my bougainvillea
Indoors, especially if it stays there all year, the bougainvillea needs regular fogging of the foliage with non-calcareous water to sustain the humidity it needs. If the leaves turn brown and eventually curl, it is certainly an attack of aphids. If the leaves turn yellow rather suddenly, it is certainly an attack of mealybugs: in both cases, a spraying of water added with baking soda and a little soap can get rid of it.
Repot my bougainvillea
Repot at least every 3 years, to adapt the container if necessary, and to change the substrate. Renew it as much as possible, bringing soil and sand for a good drainage.