Bougainvilea is a tropical vining shrub that comes in a wide array of bright and fanciful colors. The “flowers” are actually modified leaves, called bracts, that are long-lasting and bright. The colorful bracts outshine the plant’s true (but tiny) flower, much like a poinsettia. They appear periodically throughout most of the year, but are especially plentiful in the winter, when the splashes of color are a welcome sight. Bougainvillea blooms in fuschia, red, white, yellow, and orange. As a tropical plant, it grows beautifully in the garden in tropical growing zone 10. In my zone, 9B, it grows with protection during cold spells. Further north, bougainvillea must stay in a pot and be brought in during the winter. Bougainvilleas require full sun.
University of Florida
I lived for many years in south Florida. First I lived in Dade county (greater Miami), and later I moved to the next county, Broward (greater Ft. Lauderdale). When I lived in my home in Broward county, I had a beautiful bougainvilea in my yard. When it came time to prune it during the hot, rainy summer, I often came away with scratches from the thorns. When I bought my current home, I decided to not plant a bougainvillea due to the problem with the thorns. Several of my neighbors have beautiful bougainvilleas, and I enjoy their color everytime I drive in the neighborhood. Today’s photos were take several years ago on such a drive in October. The color against the blue Florida sky grabbed my attention.