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Scientific: Bougainvillea hybrids (most are some hybrid mixtures of Bougainvillea glabra, Bougainvillea spectabilis, and Bougainvillea brasiliensis)
Common: bougainvillea
Family: Nyctaginaceae
Origin: Brazil

Pronounciation: Boo-gan-VEE-ya HI-brids

Hardiness zones:
Sunset 5-6 as annual, 12, 13, 15-17, 19, 21
USDA 9 (will sustain foliage and stem freeze damage during coldest winters), 10-11

Landscape Use: Bougainvillea are a common landscape accent plant in Mediterranean, subtropical, tropical, and hot desert climates around the world. Use depends on cultivar and growth characteristics that range from ground covers on highway embankments to garden trellis, screening plant, building wall or fence covering, big landscape beach balls, or patio coverings. Dwarf cultivars are demure and ideal as container plants.

Form & Character: Festive, colorful, informal with a wide variation in form and character related to cultivar growth characteristics that create a strong tropical, Mediterannean, Spanish or hacienda design feel. Best used in oasis or xeric landscape types.

Growth Habit: Evergreen, woody, broadleaf perennial shrub or vine, amazing variation in growth habit related to cultivar ranging from compact dwarf and diminutive to 2-feet tall to rapid and sprawling to 40 feet in length or more. Vigorous, vining types will need support for height or climbing else they will sprawl.

Foliage/Texture: Alternate, entire, ovate to orbicular leaves to 2.5-inches long, which can tatter in wind, stipular spines on stems a nodes; medium texture.

Flowers & Fruits: Flowers are yellow, very small and relatively inconspicuous. In contrast, subjacent bracts (3 per flower) are larger and very colorful ranging from pure white, champaign pink, pink, orange gold, salmon, red, magenta to purple. Bougainvillea flowering occurs in new growth and is short day responsive. Flowering also responds to warm temperature and drought. Because of these environmental factors, bougainvilleas flower almost year-around Phoenix.

Seasonal Color: Colorful bracts produced most of the year, but heaviest during fall/winter.

Temperature: Bougainvillea freezes to the ground almost every winter in Phoenix when temperatures drop below 30oF, but will quickly recover in the spring with bountiful new growth. In contrast, bougainvillea thrives in the desert heat of summer.

Light: Full sun to filtered shade.

Soil: Grows well in clay soils, not as vigorous in sandy soils (fertilize lightly during spring and summer).

Watering: Must have regular deep irrigations in Phoenix, but drying soil promotes flowering.

Pruning: Prune to shape and control spread, can be prune severely once established in the landscape.

Propagation: Softwood cuttings (though somewhat difficult to root), grafting.

Disease and Pests: White flies

Additional comments: There are many, many cultivars of variable form and flower bract color! They come in all shapes, sizes and bract colors, some even with variegated foliage such as 'Raspberry Ice'. New selections are being released from all around the world each year! It is extremely important to choose the right cultivar with the growth characteristics to match the demands and constraints of a planting location. Bougainvilleas have a very fine root system. Much care must be given to not disturb the root system during transplanting from container because bougainvillea roots generally do not bind soil. Established bougainvilleas do not transplant well. Bougainvillea glabra is a climbing evergreen member of the family was first identified by Choisy about 1850.

Litter Alert: Beware!! Fallen flower bracts create a HUGE litter problem for landscape "neat freaks! They blow all over the place!