in Tucson, Phoenix,
Arizona and California

Gardening in Tucson, Phoenix, Arizona and California

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Bougainvillea: Bougainvillea species

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Form: A cascading or climbing vine comprising several species and hybrids, including B. spectabilis, B. glabra and B. peruviana.
Lifespan: Perennial.
Leaf retention: Evergreen in zones 9b-12. Damaged by freezing temperatures.
Growth rate: Moderate to rapid depending on variety and water.
Mature Size: 20-40' long depending on species.
Flowers: Small, yellow-white, waxy tubes surrounded by three 1-2" long, colorful, papery bracts.
Bloom: Fall through spring in zones 9b-12, spring through fall in zones 8b-9a.
Fruit: Insignificant.
Leaves: Ovate to elliptical, green.
Stems: Normally thorny; some recent varieties are nearly thornless.
Roots: Container plants have weak, fragile root system.
Wildlife: Used as habitat.
Toxic / Danger: Thorns. Thorn pricks can cause dermatitis.
Origin: South America.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 8b-12. Damaged below 32°F. In zone 8b, in winter, must be in container moved indoors or next to south-facing wall where it will die to ground and revive in spring.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Drought resistant.
Sun: Full sun.
Water once established: Every two weeks after first year. Soil must dry out between waterings. Excess water will reduce flowering.
Soil: Well drained, pH 5.6-6.0 (acidic). Adaptable, but enriched soil beneficial. High nitrogen fertilizer will reduce flowering.
Mulch: Heavily in fall in regions with winter freezes.
Planting: When planting, handle root ball with great care to keep it intact. Roots are very thin and do not hold soil together. After planting, water roots thoroughly, adding a root stimulator. Use flower fertilizer every two months until end of growing season. During the first year in ground, water regularly until winter, then keep almost dry.
Prune: In early spring, remove frost damage. Trim all branches back to 20' for best bloom.
Litter: High. Bract and leaf cleanup, pruning, training.
Propagation: Cuttings and layering.
Uses: Ornamental.


A member of the Four O'clock family.

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Bougainvillea: Bougainvillea - flowers