The Q&A Archives: Bougainvillea

Question: I am looking for information on the bouganvilla plant. I need a description and anything else you can tell me that would be helpful for my newsletter.

Answer: Bougainvillea (Nyctaginaceae) is an evergreen shrubby vine in tropical climates. They will endure a light frost but not consistent freezing weather. Plant in full sun, in rich,well-drained soil. Feed the plant in spring and again in summer and provide a trellis or other support for the vining branches. Bougainvillea respond to heavy pruning by
sending up an abundance of new flowering stems. The vibrant color of the bougainvillea comes from three large
bracts that surround the tiny flowers.

The key to a happy, blooming bougainvillea in the south is to give it full sunlight and don't overwater. If you skimp on sun, it will skimp on blooms. Water enough to give it a good soaking and then let it dry out before watering again. Moderate amounts of a balanced fertilizer will keep it vigorous. Just don't push it too hard. Finally, make sure the roots are in a well-drained location. They don't like soggy soil.

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