Answer: As you've discovered, a well established bougainvillea can recover from frost damage. As long as you cut away the affected plant parts, new stems will emerge from the crown of the plant the following spring. All bougainvillea are tropical in nature and all are affected by cold weather. Where occasional cold snaps hit, try growing the hardiest - Bougainvillea spectabilis 'Torch Glow' or 'Bankok Red'. They are still subject to frost damage, but are vigorous growers and recover quickly from such damage.
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