Common name: Bougainvillea
Where it will grow: Hardy to 30 degrees Fahrenheit (USDA zones 9 to 11; find your zone). Can be grown in a container and taken indoors during winter in zones 8 and below.
Water requirement: Low to medium
Light requirement: Full sun
Mature size: 15 to 30 feet tall and 10 to 20 feet wide
Benefits and tolerances: Drought tolerant once established; water deeply and then allow the soil to dry out before watering again.
Seasonal interest: Deep magenta flowers appear against lush, green foliage spring through fall.
When to plant: Spring, summer or fall
Sharp thorns are concealed underneath lush, green foliage.
Shown: 'Barbara Karst' bougainvillea with tiny cream-colored flowers surrounded by colorful bracts
Bougainvillea should be kept some distance away from pools, because its bracts create a fair amount of plant litter.
Shown: Magenta and white bougainvillea varieties
- 'Barbara Karst' has brilliant magenta coloring.
- 'California Gold' has a unique gold color.
- 'Imperial Delight' has white bracts edged in pink.
- 'Orange King' has burgundy-orange bracts.
- 'Raspberry Ice' has variegated foliage with dark pink bracts.
- 'San Diego Red' has a beautiful dark red color.
- 'Singapore White' has a smaller growth habit and produces white bracts.
- 'Torch Glow' has an unusual upright growth habit and magenta bracts.
Shown: 'Torch Glow' bougainvillea
Shown: Bougainvillea grown as a loose shrub
Shown: Orange bougainvillea trained up on a trellis
Add a complete slow-release fertilizer to your bougainvillea in spring. Be careful not to overfertilize, which can cause a reduction in flowering. Prune frost-damaged growth once the threat of frost has passed in spring. Bougainvillea can be formally pruned into a hedge, but flowering will be reduced.
Shown: Bougainvillea grown as a hedge