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Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea x buttiana Jamaica White Lubera

When you buy a Bougainvillea, sometimes also known as the paper flower, you have probably the most striking climbing plant of the south and at the same time one of the most beautiful Mediterranean plants you can imagine. 

   
 
   
 
Bougainvillea Lubera

More information about Bougainvillea

 

Its abundance of flowers and colourfulness is unsurpassed and astonishes every observer, so it is no wonder that this Mediterranean plant is becoming more and more popular among home gardeners from year to year - especially in Northern Europe, where even a single specimen can turn the entire garden into a tropical vacation paradise. At Lubera, you'll find a selection of Bougainvillea that don't stop at the famous purple but also include butter yellow, terracotta red and white. Also, an extremely small variety is included! These plants are more diverse than you might think, and we have the right one for your garden, large or small. Be creative with colour and application because this plant is great for playing and experimenting with. In this text, we will explain how to care for this Mediterranean beauty and keep it well throughout the winter - for recurring summer joy year after year. One thing in advance: this plant is easy to care for, very tolerant of pruning and is a beguiling exotic shrub even for garden newcomers. So don't worry, all you need is a container and a cool room for the overwintering of this beautiful and easy to keep climbing plant and you're ready to go.

 

 

The advantages of Bougainvillea in the garden

  • Fast-growing climbing plant with a broad crown in intoxicating colours
  • The Mediterranean potted plant also for beginners
  • Easy overwintering in frost-free rooms
  • Can be cut into a shape that suits the garden
  • Ideal for hot, sunny places on a terrace or balcony
  • Instant Mediterranean feeling for small AND large gardens

 

Large variety selection in the Lubera Shop

  • Bougainvillea glabra 'Sanderiana' - strong growing, easy to overwinter, has the famous purple colour known from Italian and Greek gardens
  • Bougainvillea 'Temple Fire' - compact growing, ideal for small gardens, bright magenta fuchsia  
  • Bougainvillea spectabilis 'Terracotta' - very rare colour, a warm red-brown, large flowers
  • Bougainvillea x buttiana 'California Gold' - strong growing, most beautiful golden yellow for an impressive, long-range effect
  • Bougainvillea x buttiana 'Jamaica White' - also strong growing, fits with its elegant white into any garden colour scheme 

 

Buying and planting - even in Central and Northern Europe?

 

That's probably what every home gardener asks himself/herself when he/she sees this beautiful climbing plant for the first time on holiday in the Mediterranean or in the subtropics and is intoxicated by the beauty of the plant and the feelings of happiness that this magnificent waterfall of colour brings about. We call out a big YES to you because especially in Central and Northern Europe we wish for a piece of everlasting Mediterranean holiday feeling in the garden (especially now, when vacations at home are becoming more and more popular). And we're adding a second big YES because we know what you're asking: can I buy a Bougainvillea and spend the winter at home? That's no problem, and we'll tell you how to do it below. 

 

What are the differences between the different species, and what do I need to be aware of? 

 

When you buy this plant, you need to know that it is not winter-hardy in our home, and should therefore be cultivated in a pot. So, if you want to grow one not just as an annual, but to enjoy year after year, you'll need a large pot, good potting soil and a cool room for the overwintering of this Mediterranean plant. 

There are two main groups of plants. The first group includes only Bougainvillea glabra, while the second group includes Bougainvillea spectabilis, Bougainvillea peruviana and hybrid varietiess. The difference is mainly in the overwintering period, as the former, B. glabra, can be overwintered cooler, while the varieties in the second group require milder temperatures. While B. glabra flowers "only" purple, B. spectabilis and its hybrids are more rarely found in pink, red-brown, yellow and white. Furthermore, B. glabra has smaller flowers than the hybrids but makes up for this with the mass-produced flowers. If you want to buy one of these plants, the first thing to consider is where to overwinter its new beauty. Can the container only be overwintered at 5 degrees Celsius? Then B. glabra is the right one for you. Do you only have warmer rooms for overwintering available that are never colder than 15 degrees Celsius? Then the other Lubera varieties mentioned above are more suitable for you. You can find more details on this topic in the overwintering section below. 

 

Care, location and growth – in a pot or planted out?

 

These plants bloom from June to September and climb up to five metres high, if you let them, in a natural location on tall pergolas, trellises and houses. However, here in containers, they are less adventurous and usually only reach heights of 2 to 3 metres, especially since with the right pruning and care, you can have a big influence on their growth. They climb with the help of long shoots and thorns, which may sound a bit dangerous, but fortunately, they are not. With these small thorns, the plants are able to climb up among other climbers, shrubs and trees in their wild location in order to get a place in the sun. Here, in our gardens, we help a little by tying up the plant in the direction in which we want to direct its beautiful flowers. It should also have sunshine, as much sun as possible, so we ideally should choose a location that fully satisfies this flower's needs. The location can also be somewhat sheltered from the wind because this means that heat can accumulate here. What other plants abhor, namely the accumulation of summer heat, this plant feels as an incentive to become even more beautiful and produce even more flowers. 

Of course, they can also be planted out in the garden, but we advise against it for two reasons. Firstly, digging, potting and putting them into the cool winter quarters would be absolutely tedious and exhausting and secondly, the roots are very sensitive and would (from their point of view) resent the brutal digging and putting them in and out. Keeping them in a container is clearly the better and easier choice! 

 

The right soil

 

For perennial potted plants, there is only one type of soil that comes into question, namely a soil that already by its name says what it was created for: a qualitatively high-quality pot plant soil, in which the plant roots feel well also over years. Potted plant soils from the specialised trade contain either perlite, vermiculite, expanded clay and similar additives, which prevent the soil from silting up, compacting and suffocating the roots after a short time. The soil remains loose and fluffy over a long period of time and also drains better because waterlogged plants at least like potted plants. Our Fruitful Soil No. 1 is a soil that we have specially prepared for potted plants. You can also buy high-quality potted plant soil from your local gardener or garden centre.

 

Repotting

 

If you want to buy a Bougainvillea and repot it, shake it out of the pot preliminarily, so that its roots are not damaged, and place it in its new home, in a pot (which can be large and heavy, so that the fast-growing climber has enough grip and keeps its footing) just as deep as it was in the delivery pot. When repotting, which should take place every two to three years after overwintering, use a slightly wider pot if possible, so that you can fill in some new potting soil around the root ball of the Bougainvillea. Again, proceed carefully so that as few root parts as possible are torn off and damaged. 

 

Fertilisation - the right fertiliser for healthy growth 

 

In the spring and summer, these plants need sufficient nutrients in order to unfold their countless, small, elongated leaves and to produce one thrust after another on their typical tripartite flowers. When planting in the spring and early summer, mix some slow-release fertiliser under the top layer of soil in the container (for example, Lubera Fruitilizer Seasonal Fertiliser Plus) and otherwise add a liquid fertiliser that is ideal for flowering plants to the watering water once a week (Lubera Fruitilizer Instant Bloom or another good liquid fertiliser from your local dealer). Starting in late summer (but before the actual autumn), any kind of fertilisation should be stopped so that the wood can mature and obtain better winter hardiness. 

 

Watering

 

In the summer, this plant needs a lot of water and in the winter only very little: it is as simple as that. After clearing out of the winter quarters in the spring, you start to water more slowly and gradually. The more leaves and new shoots are developed, the more you water. Start slowly and then gradually increase it is the motto because the water consumption of a plant naturally depends greatly on its size and the mass of its leaves and flowers. In the hot summer, the water requirement of a large, vigorous paper flower is so high that it is worth placing the container on a trivet and watering it in the morning and then checking again in the afternoon to see if another sip needs to be poured. If it is too dry, it may lose leaves and produce fewer flowers. Nevertheless, this climbing plant is not a marsh plant, so a bit of tact is required here, as with all potted plants (which you will soon figure out by carefully observing the upper layer of soil). 

 

Pruning - important tips for cutting

 

This plant needs a regular cut. A distinction is made between summer, winter and spring pruning. Why it makes sense to cut the Bougainvillea three times a year is explained below.

 

Summer pruning produces more flowers

 

Bougainvilleas grow and flower strongly, and that's what makes them so fascinating. In order to stimulate as many new flowers as possible and to achieve the fantastic cascade effect, you can cut out the withered shoots in the summer, and cut them out far enough so that the top of the shoots is always cut away with them. As a rule of thumb, you can remove about half of the new shoots. This leads to new side shoots that are very flowering. This way, you can give your plant the shape you want, while enjoying a great abundance of flowers. This beautiful flowering shrub is very easy to care for in terms of pruning and forgives the gardener for even small mistakes. Note: never prune this plant back completely, but always gently correct and direct it. 

 

Winter pruning makes for easy handling 

 

When the Mediterranean beauty has already grown very large, before moving into the winter quarters, cut back the mightiest shoots, simply to make it easier to transport the container. Here too, never cut back completely, but only enough to make the plant easy to handle.

 

Spring pruning gives the plant a better shape

 

In the spring, before moving outside, check whether any branches have died and cut them out. Mostly it is only very small, short branches that have dried out. With this light spring pruning, you can also easily correct the plant and give it the shape you want before it gets fresh air and sun again and is stimulated to produce new waves of flowers. 

 

Overwintering

 

Bougainvillea glabra, which flowers in the typical purple colour, is overwintered cool at about 5-10 degrees Celsius. It then loses its leaves and only needs extremely little watering, just enough to keep the root ball in the pot slightly moist. Mediterranean plants in their winter quarters usually need only a little water and especially at cool overwintering temperatures, one should be very reserved with watering. If Bougainvillea glabra is placed in a large pot, watering is often not necessary in the winter, as the residual moisture in the soil is usually sufficient to ensure that the pot never dries out completely. With a cool overwintering, hardly anything will evaporate, and the leafless condition of Bougainvillea glabra already indicates that it hardly needs any water. Of course, the root ball should never be allowed to become dust-dry. The location in the winter can be relatively dark. However, a little light should still be available so that the spring shoots are stimulated in time.  

The varieties and hybrids that flower yellow, white, orange and red need a little more warmth and light in the winter. As subtropical climbers, these varieties prefer temperatures around 15-18 degrees Celsius during the overwintering period. They retain some of their foliage and therefore need more light in their winter quarters and a little more water than Bougainvillea glabra. 

As a overwintering place for Bougainvillea glabra, please consider the following:

  • Cool winter gardens
  • Greenhouses
  • Unheated or slightly heated adjoining rooms
  • Cool garages and cellars with plant lighting (special light bulbs are available in specialised shops, also available with timer or timer switch)

 

Why is the Bougainvillea also called paper flower?

 

The Bougainvillea received its French name in honour of the navigator and discoverer Louis Antoine de Bougainville, who took the eponym Philibert Commerson with him as chief botanist on his circumnavigation of the world in 1766-69. Commerson's assistant and presumably secret lover Jeanne Baret sailed along disguised as a man, and historians suspect that it was actually she who discovered the Bougainvillea for Europeans. But the beautiful plant with the French name is also called paper flower because what we perceive as a flower consists of three splendidly coloured hypsophylls, while the actual flowers are inconspicuous and easy to overlook inside the coloured hypsophylls. These hypsophylls or bracts are papery and thin.

 

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