- In its native South America, bougainvillea is an evergreen, shrubby vine.
- In Tucson, bougainvillea is subject to damage during our sub 32 degree nights.
- Best planted against a warm south or west facing wall or in a container that can be moved for protection in the winter.
- Bougainvillea may be used as an annual and planted each spring.
- Bougainvillea’s vibrant color comes not from the small inconspicuous flowers, but from the large bracts that surround the flowers.
- Vigor and growth habit vary by species and variety. ‘Barbara Karst’ is a vine, and ‘La Jolla’ is a bush; these are the most popular.
- Plant in full sun or light shade in the hottest areas in early spring (after frosts) to give the longest possible establishment period before winter cold.
- During warm winters, you will see color as early as February.
- If freeze damaged during the winter, you can expect color by June.
- Experts generally agree that a somewhat water-stressed bougainvillea blooms best.
CAUTION: Plant with care!
- Bougainvillea roots are very fine and do not knit the soil together well.
- Remove the plant from the container carefully (best done when the root ball is fairly dry).
- After planting, keep root ball moist for first 2-4 weeks.
- If on a drip system, place one emitter in the center of the root ball.
- Be sure water is going into the root ball and not around the root ball.
- Provide supports to the vine types.
Fertilizing and Pruning
- Fertilize with Schultz 20-30-20, Osmocote Bedding & Vegetable, or El Toro Flower & Vegetable in spring and summer.
- Do not be afraid to prune to renew the plant, to shape it, or to direct its growth.
- Prune heavily in the spring after frost to remove dead wood and to shape.
- On wall-grown plants, nip back long stems continuously during the growing season to produce more flowering wood.
For more information about bougainvilleas, refer to the Sunset Western Garden Book.
5620 E. Pima St., Tucson, AZ 85712