All over sunny California you can encounter colorful bursts of Bougainvillea waving hello. Bougainvillea is a is a genus of thorny ornamental vines, bushes, and trees originally coming from South America. This striking plant is perfect for our climate and can bloom almost all year around. They are drought tolerant and actually bloom more with less water!
The blooms can vary from white, to pink, orange, red, deep red and purple. While white isn't as common for some reason, the other colors are quite common and can even come in two colored varieties, like pink and orange, and with foliage that also has two shades of green. The blooms are actually colored leaves, called bracts, and the tiny, flowering centers are the actual flowers.
Bougainvillea does well in climates 9b-11. If you want to check what zone you are in you can with the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. If you are near frost zones, they don't like to be too cold, so plant near buildings for more shelter. They need at least 6 hours of sun a day to be happy plants. Bougainvilleas are wonderfully drought tolerant once established and do better with less water, resulting in more blooms, yay!
The incredible versatility of Bougainvilleas are that they can grow to 25 feet in different directions! Many people train them over fences and arbors, but they will grow over almost anything! They don't latch on like some vines, so they do need support and training to guide them where you want them to grow.
There are dwarf varieties too if you do not want to have one grow so big. They do have thorns, so be careful when pruning. They also have delicate roots so care when transplanting is key, do not disturb roots too much if possible. Transplanting once established is not recommended.
The beautiful pop of color they give can really add a nice touch to a garden, house, or commercial space. One of the easiest landscape additions to consider especially with all the color choices!
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