If you think bougainvillea flowers are big and bold, think again. They’re actually pretty dainty. It’s the large, flamboyant bracts surrounding the diminutive flowers that catch the eye. These colorful bracts—in vibrant reds, pinks and purples in addition to white—cover bougainvillea for months on end.
Bougainvillea is a multipurpose garden plant. There are 1–2-foot dwarf evergreen shrubs and 25–40-foot thorny climbers. Some gardeners train the vines into a tree shape.
Good companions include: salvia, lantana, angelonia, vinca and upright evergreens such as juniper and arborvitae.
Plant Type: Shrub, Tree, Vine
Height: 1–40 ft
Width: 3–4 ft
Light Exposure: Full Sun
Bloom Color: Orange, Pink, Purple, Red, White
Bloom Time: Mid Fall, Late Fall, Early Winter, Mid Winter, Late Winter
Foilage Color: Green, Variegated
Special Features: Attracts Butterflies, Drought Tolerant, Low Maintenance, Pest Tolerant, Winter Interest
Uses: Container Plant, Screen/Privacy, Foundation Plant, Informal Hedge
Bougainvilleas are tropical plants that are showiest midfall through winter. In colder climates (Zones 8 and below), they can be grown as summer-blooming potted plants. Treat them as annuals, or overwinter indoors. For best flowering, make sure plants have at least 5 hours of sunlight a day. Bougainvilleas are drought-tolerant and also easygoing when it comes to soil as long as the drainage is good. Feed monthly with a fertilizer labeled for flowers (it will have a larger percentage of phosphorous to aid flower bud development).