Bougainvillea are thorny, ornamental plants which are known for their colourful display of flowers. It is a popular landscape plant and is generally found on the boundary walls of residential apartments. It is a very common plant and can be seen everywhere. The abundance of these flowers everywhere could be the reason that it has become a plain Jane amongst other exotic flowers. These plants grow well in full sunlight. They can be trained into various shapes and make good bonsai.
These are low maintenance plants and do not demand much care. They can be easily grown from stem cuttings. I have four different colours of Bougainvillea growing in my garden, white, yellow, and 2 varieties of pink, all of which have grown from cuttings. The recent addition is the yellow Bougainvillea. I wanted to grow yellow ones for a long time but was unable to get hold of a plant or its cuttings. Then, I managed to get a cutting of the yellow Bougainvillea plant. The cutting was not a thick cutting but a thin stem. It is generally advised to use a thick woody cutting with four to five nodes on them, while growing plants from a cutting. But, I had to make do with whatever I got. I stripped off the leaves form the stem keeping just a couple of leaves intact on them. I planted it in a pot filled with a 70:30 mixture of sand and vermicompost. I kept the plant well watered in a semi-shaded area. I kept my fingers crossed because I was not sure if it would survive as the stem was not too thick. But, within 25 to 30 days, there were new leaves growing on the stem. After the plant showed signs of growth, I shifted the pot to a spot where it received full sunlight, and after about 5 months, the plant started flowering. This once again reinforced my belief that “Nature always gives you more than you expect”.
The flowers are trumpet shaped and are surrounded by colourful bracts. The flowers alongwith the bracts look very attractive. This plant grows rapidly and hence needs periodic trimming when you grow them in pots in your home garden. The plant has stiff thorns and so whiling pruning the plant, one needs to be careful. The plant should be watered when the soil surface becomes dry. It should not be over-watered. These plants are disease resistant. They rarely suffer from any pest attack. So, if you are looking to add colour and beauty to your garden and if you do not have a bougainvillea yet, its time to grow one.