Bougainvillaea is a vibrant, thorny ornamental blooming vine that climbs on trees, walls etc. They are also called paper flower. These plants are tropical plants that thrive in sunny, hot and dry climates. Bougainvillaea is a genus of about 18 species of shrubs, vines, or small trees, belonging to the four-o'clock (commonly known as Sandhya Malati) family. It is native to eastern South America, Brazil, Peru, and southern Argentina. They can grow anywhere between 8 to 20 feet of height.
The flowers are generally bracts or modified leaves which surround tiny white flowers but grow in great density to give a feel of one large, brightly coloured bunch. Bougainvillaea flower come in a variety of vibrant colours like Orange, Pink, Purple, Red, White, golden yellow and multi-coloured.
Bougainvillaea plants love the sun. They require at least six hours of sunlight a day, for abundance of flowers, make sure it is getting direct sunlight. If the plant looks like thin and sparse and struggle to bloom, it is not receiving enough sunlight.
Use a well-draining garden soil that does not have a lot of humus (organic matter). Humus retains moisture and may cause the bougainvillea to get root rot. Take 60 per cent soil, 25 per coarse sand and 15 per cent cow compost or vermicompost.
Bougainvillaea plants require regular watering. During the hot summer, water your plants at least once a day. During the winter months, water them every other day or as per requirement.
Bougainvillaeas are tropical plants and they prefer to grow in hot climates. However, bougainvillaeas thrive in between 15 -39 degrees Celsius.
Pests & Diseases
Pests like spider mites, aphids, thrips, caterpillars and slugs occasionally attract bougainvillaea plants. To avoid them use any insecticide or neem oil.
Bougainvillaeas can be susceptible to common diseases like leaf spots, nutrient deficiencies and root rot. To avoid this, make sure that plants are in well-drained media and receive enough sunlight and water.
Repotting and Propagation
Regular repotting is recommended to ensure abundance of flowers and growth.
Stem cutting is popular method of propagating bougainvillaea plants. Cut stems that are nearly 6 inches in length and remove any remaining leaves from the stem. Place them in the soil mixture (coarse sand + well mature cow manure / vermicompost). Keep them in a shady place until new growth observed.
Arijit Poddar, a GD Block resident and secretary of the Bidhannagar Horticultural Society, shares innovative tips on gardening