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Bougainvillea spectabilis

 
Bougainvillea spectabilis
paper flower
Bougainvillea spectabilis
Our gangly youngster

Common name paper flower
Family nyctaginaceae
Life cycle woody vine (Z9-11)
Flowers various colors
Size to 30'
Light sun
Cultural notes well drained soil

Tropical vine with small white flowers surrounded by colorful bracts; the cup of bracts looks like a bigger flower, and they come in a range of tantalizing colors, from white all the way to brick red, although magenta seems to be the most common. Ours is a coral pink. All the nurseries around here carry bougainvillea, so I figure it must be hardy in the Houston area. Actually, online sources only rate it hardy to zone 9, meaning that its top growth is killed by even a few degrees of frost – but it will regrow from the roots in our zone 8. Interestingly, nurseries also carry elaborately twisted standard specimens, and charge big bucks for them, so either they are deemed hardy or they are meant to be taken indoors for the heart of winter. We'll see for ourselves how they perform through a few Houston winters. The one we got is planted near our backyard fence – I'll have to some kind of trellising for it to hang onto so that it can strut its stuff vertically.
Bougainvilleas bloom best when shown a bit of neglect – a little drought stress, not too much fertilizer. When fertilizing, a product formulated for tropical plants is best, and don't go high on the phosphorus content, because that may inhibit flowering. The vines bloom on new growth.
Note that I'm not actually sure that our specimen is B. spectabilis – nurseries don't specify the species, so it may be some hybrid instead.

In our garden, this plant grows in the following area: houston back yard

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Last modified: June 04, 2017
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