Monday, 5 December 2011

Bougainvillea

 Bougainvillea is a genus of flowering plants native to South America from Brazil west to Peru and south to southern Argentina. They are popular ornamental plants in most areas with warm climates including Ethiopia, Indonesia, Aruba, the Philippines, Thailand, Pakistan, Indian, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Australia, Greece, Spain, Turkey, Cyprus, Singapore, the Mediterranean region, the Caribbean Central America, Mexico, South Africa, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and the United States in Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, South Carolina, and southern Texas. Locarno in Switzerland, with its mild Mediterranean climate, is famous for its bougainvilleas.
Bougainvillea is the name of a group of South American shrubs and climbing vines. They grow to a height of 10 feet (3 meters) or more. They have small flowers that are enclosed by large, colorful bracts (modified leaves). The bracts may be red, purple, pink, orange, or pale yellow. They are often grown as porch climbers in the South and in California, and for hedges in South America. They must be kept in greenhouses in colder climates because frost kills them. They are raised from sterns cut from older plants.
The growth rate of Bougainvillea varies from slow-growing to rapid, depending on the particular variety. Bougainvillea tends to flower all year round in equatorial regions. Elsewhere, they are seasonal bloomers. They grow best in somewhat dry, fertile soil. Bloom cycles are typically four to six weeks. Bougainvillea grows best in very bright full sun and with frequent fertilization, but the plant requires little water once established. As indoor houseplants in temperate regions, they can be kept small by bonsai techniques. If overwatered, Bougainvillea will not flower and may lose leaves or wilt, or even die from root decay. Bougainvillea can be easily propagated via tip cuttings.

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