Bougainvillea (pronounced boo-gan-vil-lee-AY-nuh GLAY-bruh), also known as paper flower or small bougainvillea, is a plant with colored leaves or bracts native to South America.
Although its flowers are small, the bracts will appear bright pink, purple, or red during the flowering season.
Bougainvillea is an evergreen plant belonging to the Nyctaginaceae family and Bougainvillea Genus. This perennial is a popular plant in warm areas, but if it is placed indoors, it performs well in colder climates.
Here are some tips to help you take care of your bougainvillea.
Bougainvillea Glabra Care
Paper flowers are popular because they are easy to care for and they are brightly colored.
Scale and growth
Bougainvillea is a climbing shrub that can reach a height of 30 feet, but it is more common to see plants between 10 and 12 feet. In planters, it usually reaches a height of two to three feet.
It is a fast-growing plant that can grow 36 inches per year under optimal conditions. Most of the increase occurred from May to December.
In its native environment, bougainvillea blooms throughout the year. In colder climates, this plant blooms from summer to autumn, and the flowering cycle lasts four to six weeks.
The flowers are small, hidden by colorful bracts. However, it is not a plant with a strong fragrance.
Light and temperature
This plant thrives in full sun and a hot and dry climate. Your bougainvillea should get at least five hours of sunlight every day.
Frost may be a problem. A slight frost will not kill your bougainvillea, but if the ground freezes, the root system may die. If you live in an area with a cold climate, it is best to keep this plant indoors.
Instead of transplanting paper flowers into a container to disturb the root system, save them as potted plants and move them indoors or outdoors according to the temperature.
More about Growing bougainvillea in pots
Watering and feeding
You need to let the soil dry out between watering. Once it has developed a healthy root system, it is a drought-resistant plant.
You should water deeply every three to four weeks. Because of the shallow root system, you may need to water more frequently in the first few years.
Read these 12 tips for watering bougainvillea
For potted plants, choose a container with a larger drainage hole and empty the water tray regularly. Water less during dormancy.
Bougainvillea thrives in fertile soil. If you have this type of soil, you may not need to add fertilizer.
You can use fertilizer during the flowering season from May to December. Feed products containing nitrogen and phosphate once a month. If you want more flowers to grow, choose plant foods that contain a lot of potash.
Take a look at this article Bougainvillea Fertilizer
Soil and transplant
Bougainvillea is a plant that needs fertile soil to thrive. However, it is a resistant plant that can adapt to different environments.
If you decide to keep it as a houseplant, choose fertile soil that retains moisture well. You can remove brown leaves in winter to help plants retain moisture. Put it in a place with plenty of natural light, but avoid warm temperatures and excessive humidity.
Transplantation will damage the root system of this plant. If you live in a cold area, it is best to always place bougainvillea in pots and repot it regularly to accommodate the growth of the plants.
Beauty and maintenance
Bougainvillea is a plant that grows amazingly. It is a hardy plant, and pruning will not easily damage it.
You can prune the branches at the end of the flowering cycle to shape the plant. It is safe to cut the branches close to the main stem to shape the plant. If you need to reduce the size of the bougainvillea to bring it indoors, it is safe to trim it when the temperature starts to drop.
How to breed bougainvillea
In the first few years of plant life, you can stimulate growth by pinching the soft tip at the end of the flowering season. This technique will create more branches.
You can use different methods to propagate this plant, depending on how you want to grow it:
- If you plan to use it as a ground cover, you can let it grow naturally with minimal pruning.
- You can create bushes by pinching the soft tip to get more branches.
- If you want to turn your bougainvillea into a tree, you must remove the new shoots to form the trunk. Choose a strong central branch that will become the trunk and trim all other branches.
- If you have a frame, you can make your paper flowers grow like vines. Use twine to secure the stems to the structure and trim new shoots to limit growth away from the frame. Add more twine to shape new shoots.
- If you put the bougainvillea in a container, pinch the soft tip to get a shrub shape.
- Maintenance of bonsai requires more frequent care. Cut the branches close to the soil to form the central trunk and trim the bonsai at the top. You can feed it every two weeks during the growing season to get a lot of new leaves.
Bougainvillea pests or diseases
Rotting is one of the most common problems of paper flowers. This plant will not grow well in areas with heavy rainfall. If possible, plant your bougainvillea on high ground to provide more drainage and prevent water from accumulating around the plants.
It is a resistant plant and is not prone to pests and diseases. However, it is possible to find common garden pests such as aphids, beetles, snails, slugs or mites on your bougainvillea.
Due to fungi or bacteria, seedlings may appear lead spots. You can prevent this problem by keeping the leaves dry.