For sheer spectacle and exuberance, no flowering vines surpass bougainvilleas. Native to Central and South America, they're common in Florida, South Texas, and along the Gulf and south Atlantic coasts. And with the advent of low-growing, shrubby types that can be bought in full bloom and grown in containers, more Southerners can enjoy these plants than ever before. Established vines with- stand light frosts, but plan to take the plants indoors to a sunny window for the winter if you live where temperatures drop below 20F.
Bougainvillea's vibrant colors come not from its small, inconspicuous true flowers, but from the three large bracts that surround them. Heaviest bloom comes during the cooler months of spring and fall, when days and nights are nearly equal in length. Plants go dormant in summer. Both single- and double-flowering kinds are sold; double sorts can look messy, as they hold faded blooms for a long time.
These vines are fast, vigorous growers, reaching 1530 feet., depending on the selection. Stiff stems are armed with long, needlelike thorns and are moderately to densely clothed in medium green, 212 inches., heart-shaped leaves. Bougainvilleas are superb trained against walls or on sturdy fences, trellises, or arbors. They have no means of attachment (though their thorns help them scramble through shrubs and trees), so you must tie stems to the support while the vine is young.
B hybrids The following are tall-growing vines unless otherwise noted
- Most are hybrids produced from Bougainvillea glabra and Bougainvillea spectabilis (from Brazil) and Bougainvillea peruviana (from Colombia and Peru).
- Heavy bloomer with yellow-orange blossoms.
- Open growth, sparse foliage.
- Bright red in sun, bluish crimson in shade; blooms young and for a long period.
- Vigorous growth.
- Fast comeback after frost.
- A popular selection.
- Deep golden yellow.
- Blooms young.
- Hot pink to coral to gold blend.
- Double-flowered rose-pink, with centers of white to pale green.
- Vigorous, shrubby, sprawling plant.
- Good in containers, as shrub, or as sunny bank cover.
- Lower growth, better color than 'Temple Fire'.
- Heavy bloom, long season.
- Large and vigorous vine with huge clusters of deep purple-red blooms.
- White bracts (sometimes tinged with pink) veined in light green.
- Blooms young.
- Moderately vigorous.
- Big, reddish purple bracts on a big vine.
- Bright red bracts; compact, shrubby habit.
- Good shrub or container plant.
- An improved Bougainvillea spectabilis, with bigger bracts, heavier bloom.
- Double, magenta-red blossoms are carried in heavy clusters.