Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea glabra) is an evergreen, ornamental, vigorous climbing shrub with thorny stems. Paperflower grows up to three to four meter tall, occasionally up to nine meters. Big clusters of brightly colored papery bracts in pink, red, orange or purple cover the plant summer through fall. The papery bracts surround small, creamy white flowers. The leaves are dark green, variable in shape, up to four inches long. The flowers are about 0.4 cm in diameter. It can be used as a houseplant or hanging basket in cooler climates or bonsai.
Scientific Name: Bougainvillea glabra
Common Names: Bougainvillea, lesser bougainvillea or Paperflower.
How to grow and maintain Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea glabra):
Paperflower plant prefers to grow in Full sun. Bougainvillea glabra need at least four hours of direct sunlight every day during the active growth period. Full sun exposure is essential for bougainvillea plants, and they will not bloom in shade.
Paperflower grows well in rich, slightly acidic, well-drained soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.0. If the soil is too alkaline or saline, It will show leaf chlorosis.
Paperflower requires ideal growing temperatures are warm days 70-85 degrees Fahrenheit and cool nights 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit. It grows well in warm climates as one of the drought-tolerant plants.
Water regularly, then allow the top 2 inches of soil to dry out between waterings. Keep the soil evenly moist during summer and nearly dry in winter. Overwatering will cause leaves to turn yellow and fall off.
Fertilize with a general purpose fertilizer early in the growing season, changing to a high phosphorus and potassium feed in late spring/summer to promote strong root growth and good bract color.
It can be easily propagated by semi-hardwood cuttings taken with a heel, in summer or hardwood cuttings in winter but with bottom heat 3-6°C above the air temperature to encourage rooting. Layering in pre-spring and late-winter is usually more effective and new plants will flower in 2-3 years.
Paperflower should be pruned either late summer after flowering or early spring before new growth begins. Pruning bougainvillea regularly will keep the plant small and prevent it from becoming leggy.
Pests and Diseases:
Paperflower can be attacked by common pests such as red spider mite, aphids, caterpillars, greenfly, and mealybugs. Use a suitable pesticide to eradicate these pests. Also, watch for fungus. To control fungus, reduce the humidity and use a preventive fungicide.