Bougainvillea

Dec 3 09:32 2008 David XT Print This Article

Bougainvillea is a genus of flowering plants native to South America. The name comes from Louis Antoine de Bougainville, who discovered the plant in Brazil in 1768.

Bougainvillea is a genus of flowering plants native to South America. The name comes from Louis Antoine de Bougainville,Guest Posting an admiral in the French Navy who discovered the plant in Brazil in 1768.

They are thorny, woody, vines growing anywhere from 1-12 meters tall, scrambling over other plants with their hooked thorns. The thorns are tipped with a black, waxy substance. They are evergreen where rainfall occurs all year, or deciduous if there is a dry season. The leaves are alternate, simple ovate-acuminate, 4-13 cm long and 2-6 cm broad. The actual flower of the plant is small and generally white, but each cluster of three flowers is surrounded by three or six bracts with the bright colors associated with the plant, including pink, magenta, purple, red, orange, white, or yellow.

Bougainvillea are relatively pest-free plants, but may suffer from worms and aphids. The larvae of some Lepidoptera species also use them as food plants, for example the Giant Leopard Moth.

Bougainvilleas are popular ornamental plants in most areas with warm climates. 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.

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