Discovered and named after an 1 8th-century French navigator, Louis de Bougainville, this beautiful flowering plant belongs to a family of shrubs and scrambling climbers from tropical and sub-tropical parts of South America.
Bougainvillea was brought to Europe where it soon became very popular, and today it is thought of as a Southern European plant.
Where it grows outdoors it reaches great heights, but indoors it can be trained to a more bushy compact shape.
Flowers and flowering
Bougainvillea is a particularly rampant plant when it grows naturally outdoors. When cultivated as a house plant it is usually trained along a trellis or a wire hoop and cut back regularly to restrain its growth.
Bougainvillea glabra flowers when fairly young. Its bracts may be magenta, white or pink. B. buttiana comes in several attractive varieties, including ‘Mrs Butt’ (crimson), ‘Easter Parade’ (pink) and ‘Jamaica White’ (pure white). These hybrids are not such rapidly growing plants as B. glabra and are thus relatively easy to keep under control.
Small plants can be trained around hoops and grown in hot sunny windows.
Larger plants should be kept in a sun room or conservatory.
Through The Year
September—February When flowering stops move the plant to a cool but still bright. The ideal temperature is 7-12°C (45– 54°F). If the temperature is too low the plant may lose its (new leaves will grow in the spring to replace them). Water sparingly, allowing the mixture to dry out between waterings. Do not the plant during its rest period.
Repot your plant and trim it back if necessary. Remember that it will flower better if theare kept crowded and almost pot-bound. If you do repot, use a soil-based potting mixture and add coarse sand to ensure good . Cut back straggly growth to the first pair of leaves from the main shoot. Long main shoots should be cut back to about 5cm (2in).
When the first clusters of flowering buds appear, move the plant to a sunny position and leave it there for the whole flowering period. It can be placed on aor balcony as long as the night temperatures do not d rop below 15°C (59°F). Water the plant moderately, allowing a little drying out between waterings, and every fortnight.
Pests And Diseases
Leaves turn yellow and fall, and the flowers may also fall. This is due to overwatering or lack of drainage.
Treatment: Let the potting mixture dry out between waterings and add drainage material.
Sticky and malformed leaves indicate.
Yellowing leaves Treatment: Spray with a pyrethrum-basedevery week for 3 weeks to ensure eradication of insects.
Lack of flowers is due to low light.
Treatment: Move the plant to a bright, warm place.
This plant needs extra care and the right position to make it bloom year after year. Ideally it needs a sunroom orto thrive.
- : Use a soil-based potting mixture to repot in spring. Make sure there is adequate extra coarse sand to make the mixture well-draining. Large plants should be top-dressed only.
- Water moderately in summer, allowing a little drying out between waterings. In autumn gradually reduce amount and frequency of until, in winter, the mixture is just kept barely moist.
- Feeding: In spring when active growth begins apply a standard liquid fertilizer every fortnight. Stop when flowering finishes.
BEST GROWTH ENVIRONMENT
- Light: This plant can never get too much sun in summer. A position in a south-facing window is best. It needs several hours of direct sun to encourage flowering. In winter keep it in a bright but cooler place.
- Temperature: In summer your plant thrives in high temperatures, but in winter it should be in a cool place at 7-12°C (46-54°F).
- Buy in spring from larger garden centres or nurseries. You may have to order it from a specialist grower.
- Buy strong-growing plants with plenty of flower buds and healthy green leaves.
- Your plant will live for a long time if planted in a or sunroom. Indoors, plants are often discarded after 4-5 years as they get woody and produce fewer flowers.
Grow the delightful climbing plant Bougainvillea in a sunny window, or train it to grow across a conservatory wall. Wherever it grows it will hold memories of sunny Mediterranean holidays.