This stunning flowering vine will make your home the most popular on the block

If you’re looking to add a vibrant holiday touch to your outdoor space, now is the time to consider bougainvillea. The glossy tropical vine comes in gorgeous colors from white apricot to neon pink. The center flowers are small and white or cream-colored, each surrounded by beautiful, elegant bracts or modified petals. Needless to say, the spray colors of bougainvillea will definitely add a “wow” factor wherever you grow them.

Native to South America, bougainvillea is tough-as-nails and thrives in poor soil and high temperatures (even in drought if established early). It is evergreen in USDA Hardiness Zones 10 through 11 (find your zone here), but can be used as an annual or houseplant in cooler climates. Many types of bougainvillea bloom year-round in frost-free areas.

Climbing bougainvillea on a pergola, creating a canvas effect.

Victoria Pearson

Although it grows naturally as a forest vine with species reaching heights of 30 to 40 feet, it can be pruned to a shrub-like shape or trained to grow as a ground cover or hedge. If grown in pots on the balcony, it prefers to be root-bound to grow well, so you don’t have to repot every few years. Many types have sharp thorns, so wear gloves when handling the plant; If these thorns are not protected (although there are many new species without thorns) they can cause serious damage.

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Now that you know the basics, learn more about how to care for bougainvillea.

How to care for bougainvillea?

The most important thing to remember is that your bougainvillea needs at least six or more hours of direct sunlight a day. He It does not grow Partial shade or shade. The flowers do not like to stay wet. If you plant in the ground, make sure that it is a well-drained place where water does not accumulate. If it’s in a pot, don’t use the bottom pan to let the water drain completely when drinking. Give it a drink only when the soil is dry, then water deeply.

Ideas for bougainvillea

Bougainvillea graces this Southern California home designed by Madeleine Stewart.

Trevor Tondro

Bougainvillea is also a heavy feeder, so feed it regularly with a balanced general purpose fertilizer (10-10-10). However, some experts recommend using a fertilizer specially formulated for these plants because they have root systems that are very good at receiving specific micronutrients such as iron.

Should I prune my bougainvillea?

no way! But we can’t stress this enough: wear heavy gloves, or there could be injuries! The juice may cause skin irritation in sensitive people. You can cut them any time of the year to control the size or up and train them on a trellis or wall. You’ll also want to cut back any old and dead wood or you’ll end up with a mess of new and old growth that doesn’t grow well. If you live in a hot climate, it is a vigorous grower, so you need to cut it more than once a year.

Outdoor patio, interior design by Tom Callaway, seating details, white wall hangings, and tile flooring.

Bougainvillea brings color to the exterior of this home designed by Tom Callaway.

Lisa Romerein

How do I get my bougainvillea to flower?

Bougainvillea grows on new wood, which means that the more you pinch off new shoots, the more your bougainvillea will grow and produce flowers. After finishing the plant, pinching should be done. Use pruning shears to remove a few inches of tender growing tips on each stem. Again, don’t forget to wear gloves!

Occasionally, the plants produce fast-growing water shoots, which are branches that grow from the main stem. On young plants, these can help them fill up quickly; On mature plants, they should be cut because they do not grow flowers and do not reduce their appearance.

Bougainvillea Barbara Karst
Fast Growing Trees Bougainvillea ‘Barbara Karst’
Credit: Fast Growing Trees
Bougainvillea 'New River'
Fast Growing Trees Bougainvillea ‘New River’
Credit: Fast Growing Trees
Bougainvillea 'Imperial Thai Delight'
Bright Blooming Bougainvillea ‘Imperial Thai Joy’
Credit: Bright Blooms
Bougainvillea 'Sundown Orange'
Fast Growing Trees Bougainvillea ‘Sundown Orange’
Credit: Fast Growing Trees

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