Plant Taxonomy of Bougainvillea:
Planting Zones for Bougainvillea Vines:
Sun and Soil Requirements for Bougainvillea:
Uses in Landscaping:
Bougainvillea plants are often seen growing against walls in hot climates, such as in the Mediterranean or in Southern California. However, these vines often need help in climbing, so provide a trellis or train them via espalier. In fact, if unsupported, they may just sprawl across the ground in some cases and function as a groundcover. If you wish to treat them as shrubs, they can be used in foundation beds.
Those who live in cold climates may treat the vines as annuals or bring them indoors during the cold weather and keep them as houseplants until summer returns. I live in zone 5 and have seen them for sale here in hanging baskets (a backyard fence festooned on the inside with such hanging baskets could suggest a Mediterranean look, with a little help).
Care for Bougainvillea:
Varieties of Bougainvillea:
As noted above, "Bougainvillea" refers, technically, to a genus of vines, not to a specific vine. There are many species within the genus. Two of the better-known are:
- Bougainvillea spectabilis
- Bougainvillea glabra
The latter are sometimes referred to by the common name, "paper flowers."
Meaning of the Name, "Bougainvillea":
The name derives from Louis Antoine de Bougainville (1729-1811), a French navigator. A botanist sailing with Bougainville discovered bougainvillea plants when their ship put in along the coast of Brazil. I suppose the name of his superior officer was deemed as good a name as any by which to call the vine.
When confusion exists over how to pronounce the scientific names of plants, we can usually take refuge in the spiffier common names. Such is not the case, however, with "bougainvillea," where, as mentioned above, the botanical name doubles as a common name.
There are at least six legitimate ways to pronounce "bougainvillea." The first syllable can be pronounced either with a U sound or an O sound. Even after you've decided how to pronounce the first syllable, there are still three acceptable variations in how to pronounce "bougainvillea." For instance, if you choose the U sound for the first syllable, you can choose from among the following pronunciations:
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