Today is the first day of Spring and Spring always makes me think of flowers!
Photo Credit: Dan Culbert, UF/IFAS
A very popular tropical plant here in
is the beautiful Bougainvillea. Gorgeous long-lasting flower bracts appear all winter—according to one description “looking like tissue paper fantasies”. In spring and summer there are fewer bracts but it continues to bloom. Florida
The first Bougainvillea was noticed in
in 1760 by a European botanist traveling with Admiral Louis Antoine de Bougainville, the first Frenchman to cross the Pacific. This plant was the botanical highlight of the voyage and the explorers brought back no other plants to Rio de Janeiro Europe on that trip.
Cultivated Bougainvillea first appeared in
in 1830. Another ten years passed before they were flowering in Paris and, possibly at about the same time, they began spreading to the Eastern tropics. England
The colorful bracts surround the small flowers. They may be purple or pink but can be white, red, yellow or orange. Two cultivars of this plant have both pink and white flower bracts – look for them by names, Surprise and Vickie. Foliage may be green or green and white. Bougainvillea’s pretty arching habit with blooms at the end of the stem can be both traditional looking and architectural.
Many people in my area train it to be tall and to hang over fences and trellises. You can also easily grow it in containers. And luckily, it is drought tolerant and relatively pest free. I’ve seen really golden and purple varieties and will have to try to capture photos of them.
Spring is a most wonderful season!