Bougainvillea is a perennial plant that grows as a creeper or as a tree. The shoots of bougainvillea are rarely covered with thorns, with the help of which the plant clings to the support. This plant belongs to the Nyctaginaceae family. In bougainvillea, the leaves are oval, pointed at the end, up to 7 cm long, the flowers are tubular, very small, yellowish in color, and quickly fade. Decorativeness of the plant is given by colorful bracts – bracts, which resemble transparent paper with dark veins.
The shape of the bracts is round-triangular or heart-shaped, the size of the bracts reaches 5 cm, they are very bright and can be of different colors. The flowers bloom quickly, and the bracts decorate the plant for a very long time. Bougainvillea shoots grow very quickly, the annual growth of shoots reaches up to 5 m (with natural cultivation). At home, bougainvillea also gives a good growth of up to 1 m, if it is properly cared for. In the natural environment, it can be found in the South..
American bougainvillea can be in the form of a creeper or in the form of a tree, but most often it can be found in the form of a slender bush with flexible slender shoots that cover a house or terrace.
Types of Bougainvillea
The bougainvillea genus is represented by 15 species, of which only a few are suitable for indoor cultivation. Bougainvillea of the Brazilian species Vougainvillea Glabra and its varieties adapted to indoor conditions are suitable for growing indoors.
- Bougainvillea Spectabilis. This type of bougainvillea is distinguished by decorative bracts and colored leaves.
- Bougainvillea Butiana. Tolerates pruning well. The bush can be given almost any shape.
In our climatic conditions, bougainvillea is grown as a houseplant or in greenhouses, it is afraid of the slightest frost.
Caring for bougainvillea is not difficult if you observe all the conditions listed below.
Brightness of light for bougainvillea
Bougainvillea is a light-loving plant, it likes a lot of light, sometimes direct sunlight, but it is better to shade the plant from the afternoon sun. Place the plant on the western and eastern windows, and on the southern sides of the house, place the plant away from the window.
In case of insufficient lighting, the shoots are strongly elongated, the leaves turn pale, and flowering stops.
Bougainvillea painfully reacts to a change in climatic conditions, so do not transfer the plant to another place if it is not necessary. Bougainvillea can drop not only flowers and bracts, but also leaves. This plant is capricious. If the lighting and air temperature in the new place are almost the same as the previous one, after a short time the leaves will start to grow.
Air temperature for Bougainvillea
The active growth of the plant occurs in spring-autumn, during this period the temperature in the room should be up to 25°C, it is best to take the bougainvillea outside. And in winter, it is in a state of rest, during this period it is desirable to lower the temperature to +10-+13°C (hypocooling of the earthen lump is not allowed). Indoor bougainvillea is afraid of drafts, especially keep an eye on the bougainvillea in winter so that it does not get a cold air stream.
Watering and air humidity for Bougainvillea
At home, special attention should be paid to watering bougainvillea.
In the warm season, it is watered as the top layer of soil dries – 1-2 times a week. In its natural environment, bougainvillea grows on the rocky soil of mountain slopes, so it does not tolerate stagnant water. Be sure to drain the water from the tray after watering so that the roots of the plant do not rot. In winter, the plant is rarely watered so that the earth does not dry out.
Bougainvillea likes high air humidity, in the warm season it needs to be sprayed 2 times a day, spray with soft water so that water does not get on the bracts. If the temperature in the room is lower than + 15°C, then spraying is not necessary.
It is necessary to feed bougainvillea once every 7 days during the period of active growth, alternating organic and complex mineral fertilizers (for flowering ones). There is no need to feed bougainvillea in winter, because it is in a state of rest.
How to transplant bougainvillea
Choosing a pot
The pot should be small – from 2 to 6 liters. In large pots, bougainvillea grows actively, forming dense foliage, but blooms worse than in a cramped pot. In large pots, bougainvillea is grown only in a greenhouse, where there is enough light for the normal development of the plant.
Soil for bougainvillea
The soil for bougainvillea should be light and sufficiently nutritious, moisture permeable, with a neutral or slightly acidic reaction.
Soil mixture for bougainvillea can be bought or prepared yourself. It should consist in equal proportions of sheet soil and coarse-grained sand, with the addition of vermiculite, perlite, expanded clay.
You need to make a hole in the pot to drain excess water. At the bottom of the pot, pour expanded clay from 2 to 5 cm, depending on the volume of the pot. Pour the soil, the layer of which should be 3-5 cm, transplant the bougainvillea by transshipment method (the earthen lump of the plant cannot be disturbed). There should be up to 3 cm of free space between the roots and the walls of the pot, which we carefully fill with fresh substrate.
How to prune bougainvillea
An important aspect of bougainvillea care is annual pruning.
Autumn pruning. First of all, we cut dry damaged twigs. In order for the bushes to be decorative and more lush, in the fall (before the beginning of winter), the shoots are cut to half their length. This stimulates the growth of side shoulder blades.
Spring pruning. In the spring, very thin, crooked, extra shoots are cut, and too long branches are shortened to half. They form a crown.
Summer pruning. In summer, young branches are cut immediately after flowering, flowers with decorative bright bracts will appear again from young side shoots.
Note! Shoots 3-4 years old are not cut, because very few dormant buds awaken on old woody branches, and new side shoots do not grow.
How to propagate bougainvillea
Bougainvillea is propagated by cuttings and layers.
Features of propagation by cuttings
In the spring, semi-woody apical cuttings (tops of shoots) up to 10 cm long (which remained after pruning) are used for rooting. Cutting shoots and planting is carried out similarly to the propagation of hibiscus by cuttings.
Diseases and pests
When grown at home, bougainvillea is more prone to infection by pests than in the natural environment. These are aphids and mealybugs, spider mites and whiteflies.
If bougainvillea is not cared for properly, it can get various diseases
Possible difficulties in growing bougainvillea:
Fallen leaves and bracts – change of location, draft, stagnation of water, or overdrying of the soil, overdried air, insufficient light
Bougainvillea does not bloom – the pot is too big, the rest period is broken, there is a lack of light, the air temperature is too low.
Bougainvillea dies – overwatering, rotting roots (transplant the plant into completely new soil, wash off the old one and remove the rotten roots), frost.