Bougainvillea are popular ornamental plants in most areas with warm climates. Albir is no exception, they are found to be in abundance here.
Although it is frost-sensitive bougainvillea can be used as a houseplant or hanging basket in cooler climates. In the landscape, it makes an excellent hot season plant, and its drought tolerance makes it ideal for warm climates year-round. Its high salt tolerance makes it a natural choice for colour in coastal regions. It can be pruned into a standard, but is also grown along fence lines, on walls, in containers, and as a hedge or an accent plant. Its long arching thorny branches bear heart-shaped leaves and masses of papery bracts in white, pink, orange, purple, and burgundy. Many cultivars, including double-flowered and variegated, are available.
Many of today’s bougainvillea are the result of interbreeding among only three out of the eighteen South American species recognised by botanists. Currently, there are over 300 varieties of bougainvillea around the world.
The growth rate of bougainvillea varies from slow to rapid, depending on the variety. They tend to flower all year round in frost free regions. Bougainvillea grow best in dry soil, in very bright full sun and with frequent fertilisation but they require little water once established, and in fact will not flourish if over-watered. They can be easily propagated via tip cuttings.
Bougainvillea is also a very attractive genus for Bonsai enthusiasts, due to their ease of training and their radiant flowering during the spring. They can be kept as indoor houseplants in temperate regions and kept small by bonsai techniques.
The sap of bougainvillea can cause serious skin rashes.
Here in Albir these plants are a delight and really add to the Mediterranean feel of the town,