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Bougainvillea spectabilis is often confused with:
Bougainvillea glabra Bougainvillea
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Bougainvillea glabra Bougainvillea
Canna Flower
Alstroemeria Alstroemeria

Bougainvillea spectabilis

Previously known as:

  • Bougainvillea speciosa
Phonetic Spelling
boo-gun-VEEL-ee-uh speck-TAB-ih-liss
Description

Bougainvillea spectabilis is a tropical perennial shrubby vine grown as an annual or container plant and makes an excellent addition to a pool or patio space. It prefers moderately fertile, organically rich soil that retains moisture but is not soggy. Bougainvillea is best suited to a hot, dry climate and should be watered deeply but allowed to dry out between waterings. Once established, they are drought resistant. It is a woody climber that can support itself on other plants by means of curved thorns carried in the leaf axils and by quasi-twining stems and should be kept away from high traffic areas as the thorns can be painful. It is best tied to a structure such as a  fence, wall, or pergola for support. 

Lesser Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea glabra) has distinctly 5-angled (pentagonal) floral tubes and short floral bracts and is distinguished from Great Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea spectabilis) which has rounded floral tubes and longer floral bracts but they are otherwise very similar. 

Tip: Reduce water and fertilizer and prune if necessary after flowering.  It needs a dormant period and benefits from "neglect".

More information on Bougainvillea.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • California Gold
    Golden yellow bracts
  • Juanita Hatten
    Dark pink bracts
  • Sundown
    Orange bracts
  • Vicky
    Gold and green variegated leaves, white or rose bracts
California Gold, Juanita Hatten, Sundown, Vicky
Tags:
#purple#red#thorns#white#sun#full sun#annual#drought tolerant#orange#salmon#apricot#container plant#pink flowers#salt tolerant#medicinal#colorful#woody#security#coastal#tropical perennial#long-lasting flowers#vines#climbing vines#bracts#white bracts#orange bracts#pink bracts#coastal plant#pool#xeriscaping#tropical feel#porch
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • California Gold
    Golden yellow bracts
  • Juanita Hatten
    Dark pink bracts
  • Sundown
    Orange bracts
  • Vicky
    Gold and green variegated leaves, white or rose bracts
California Gold, Juanita Hatten, Sundown, Vicky
Tags:
#purple#red#thorns#white#sun#full sun#annual#drought tolerant#orange#salmon#apricot#container plant#pink flowers#salt tolerant#medicinal#colorful#woody#security#coastal#tropical perennial#long-lasting flowers#vines#climbing vines#bracts#white bracts#orange bracts#pink bracts#coastal plant#pool#xeriscaping#tropical feel#porch
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Bougainvillea
    Species:
    spectabilis
    Family:
    Nyctaginaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The extract and decoction of this plant have been used as fertility control among the tribal people in many countries. It also is believed to have anticancer, antihepatotoxic, anti-inflammatory, antihyperlipidemic, antimicrobial, antioxidant, and antiulcer properties. Bougainvillea spectabilis contains pinitol, which has an insulin-like effect and has the potential for development as a treatment for diabetes.
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Root Cutting
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Brazil
    Distribution:
    It can be found cultivated and naturalized across Asia, Africa, tropical America, the West Indies, the Mediterranean region, and on many islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans in tropical and warm temperate regions.
    Wildlife Value:
    It is pollinated by night moths, bees, and butterflies.
    Climbing Method:
    Twining
    Dimensions:
    Height: 15 ft. 0 in. - 40 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 15 ft. 0 in. - 41 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Perennial
    Shrub
    Vine
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Ascending
    Cascading
    Climbing
    Clumping
    Dense
    Multi-stemmed
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
    Appendage:
    Thorns
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    6-feet-12 feet
    12-24 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    9b, 10b, 10a, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Winged achenes are 1-1.5 cm, elongate, 5-ribbed containing 1 seed and are distributed by wind and water.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Cream/Tan
    White
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    Bracts
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Flowers are found in axillary clusters of three, each flower with a purple, red, pink, or orange bract beneath. The calyx is tubular with 5 lobes approximately 2 cm long. The tube is the same color as the bracts, with white lobes approximately 3 mm long and 5-10 stamens.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Orange
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Leaf Feel:
    Leathery
    Papery
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Sinuate
    Undulate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The actual leaves are green. Branches are covered with long, soft hairs. Leaves are elliptical or ovate with the apex acute, obtuse, or acuminate and the base obtuse, rounded, or attenuate, slightly asymmetrical. Lower surfaces are softly hairy with prominent venation and slender petioles. This plant also has modified leaves called bracts (that may look like petals) and give the appearance of flowers.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Stems have long narrow thorns in the axils of leaves.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Container
    Hanging Baskets
    Patio
    Pool/Hardscape
    Rock Wall
    Slope/Bank
    Vertical Spaces
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Hedge
    Mass Planting
    Screen/Privacy
    Security
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Moths
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Heat
    Pollution
    Salt
    Problems:
    Spines/Thorns