Bougainvillea is an evergreen shrub vine that offers vibrant colors and thrives in zones 9 to 11, where temperatures rarely reach freezing. This vine can be trained to grow along fences or pergolas, used as a hanging plant or as ground cover. Popular in South Florida, Southern California and other nearly tropical locations, bougainvillea should be planted in full sun and get regular watering. Bougainvillea is available in a wide range of colors, including purples, reds, pinks, yellows and whites.
Purple bougainvillea is available in several varieties, including James Walker, Tahitian Dawn and Texas Dawn. James Walker has a big vine and big purple-red bracts, while Texas Dawn is a particularly vigorous plant with purple-pink bracts in big sprays. Tahitian Dawn offers two colors over its life--the gold bracts age to purple.
Many varieties bloom in reds and pinks, including Brilliant Variegated, Cherry Blossom, Mrs. Butt and San Diego Red. Among the most hardy bougainvilleas, San Diego Red is a classic favorite with large leaves and deep red, long-lasting bracts. The plant itself can be trained to a tree form with staking. Brilliant Variegated is a spreading, mounding shrub with red bracts that is a good choice for hanging baskets. Cherry Blossom has rose pink double flowers, and Mrs. Butt requires lots of heat for its crimson blooms.
Only a handful of bougainvillea varieties have yellow blooms, and those that do range from a vibrant yellow to gold. Afterglow, a heavy bloomer with little foliage, has a yellow-orange bloom. California Gold is a young-blooming plant with golden yellow bracts. Rosenka has a gold bract that ages to pink.
White bougainvilleas are easy to find and are available in many varieties, including Jamaica White, Mary Palmer's Enchantment and White Madonna. The Jamaica White series, which blooms young, has a white bloom with light green veins. Mary Palmer's Enchantment is a vigorous, large-growing vine with pure white blooms, and White Madonna also has pure white blooms.
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