Bougainvillea is a beautiful, abundantly flowering plant that brings a lot of joy to its owner. Small flowers of this charming exotic beauty are enclosed in wide bracts of bright colors, which play a leading role in decorativeness and look chic against the background of green foliage. Adhering to simple rules of care, even a novice florist can grow this amazing flower at home.
Such an unusual name of the plants was received in honor of the famous French traveler, navigator and explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville.
Description of bougainvillea
Bougainvillea is a genus in the nocturnal family (Nyctaginaceae) and includes evergreen or deciduous climbing shrubs and trees native to the tropical belt of South America.
The genus has almost two dozen species, but as indoor crops are grown mainly Brazilian – Bougainvillea naked and wonderful. Thanks to the work of breeders, today on the basis of these species many varieties and hybrids have been bred, which are successfully propagated by cuttings.
In the southern latitudes, where the temperature does not fall below 0 °C all year round, vines are grown as spectacular tub crops and kept in outdoor conditions, widely used to decorate garden and park areas and private territories – the decor of arches, gazebos, fences and the creation of cozy patios.
Evergreen shrubs have branching shoots and slightly pointed, oval-shaped leaf blades. Tubular flowers are small and rather unremarkable, but thanks to 3 wide and delicate to the touch covering leaves, the plants have an aesthetically attractive appearance. In nature, the color scheme of bracts is usually purple, and in the bred varieties varies from snow-white and pale pink to rich purple and other bright tones. In addition, covering sheets can be terry. When grown at home, plants bloom magnificently in spring and autumn, but for this bougainvillea, you need proper care.
With the onset of autumn, the temperature of the content of bougainvillea is lowered, and watering is reduced. With the arrival of spring, temperature conditions begin to rise, and watering is increased.
Bougainvillea care with photos
First of all, you need to take into account that room bougainvillea is a heat-loving flower that loves a lot of sunlight. It does not require shading even in the noon hours, as it is absolutely not afraid of exposure to sunlight, which is detrimental to many other plants. Flowers do not relate well to frequent movements from place to place. Drafts are also highly undesirable.
With the required amount of light, the flower actively grows and lays buds. During the flowering period, growth slows down greatly. With good weather, every day bougainvillea pleases with new flowers with bright bracts. After again comes a period of vegetative growth.
It is recommended to keep the vine in a pot, and preferably in a clay pot of up to 5 liters or in hanging pots. For a young bush, a capacity of 1-2 liters is enough.
The soil substrate should be fertile and loose. In turf and leafy earth add bark, peat, perlite. Holes are made in the bottom of the container, and a good drainage layer of coarse sand or pebbles is laid.
In the house for the flower, you need to choose a well-lit place, so it is better to place the pot on the windowsills of the southern and south-eastern windows. In the spring-summer period, it is better to take the pot outside or to the balcony, loggia, so that the plant is completely illuminated by the sun’s rays, but at the same time protect it from drafts and gusts of wind. In winter, it is also important to provide full lighting. During the day, the plant needs at least 6 hours of intense light.
Hybrids with purple and red bracts, as well as white species of bougainvillea are sensitive to temperature drops, so with the onset of cold weather, it is better to bring flowers from the balcony or from the street indoors.
It should be regular: in summer – abundant, and in winter – moderate. In the warm period, the soil should always remain moist, in the cool – it can be almost dry. Although, complete over-drying of the substrate should not be allowed. Wilting and loss of leaf turgor is a signal of lack of moisture. The water used is well settled with a minimum lime content.
The plant likes high humidity and needs frequent spraying regardless of the season, especially if in winter the plant is kept in heated rooms. After spraying, the flower is noticeably transformed.
The flower does not tolerate sudden temperature changes. Indoor species die at temperatures below 5-7 °C. The optimal temperature in summer is from 20 to 32 °C. In winter, it is necessary to ensure a fairly cool temperature regime (10-15 °C).
If you keep a vine at room temperature all winter, then this can adversely affect flowering. For wintering, an insulated loggia is ideal.
Fertilization is carried out 1 time in 7-10 days with phosphorus-containing fertilizers. It is better not to get involved in nitrogen fertilizing. They stimulate the growth of the green mass, which in turn inhibits flowering. It is a priority to feed the plant in small portions, but often. In this case, it is impossible to exceed the dose in any case, it can kill bougainvillea. Organic fertilizers can be applied periodically. In order not to burn the root system, all fertilizers are applied after watering.
Under natural conditions, bougainvillea reaches a height of 5 m or more, clinging to other plants with thorns and striving to reach the upper tiers, illuminated by the sun. In apartments and conservatories, flower growers usually regulate growth and carry out mold pruning of stems. As a result, the flower can be grown not only as a vine, but also to form a compact bush or a low stem tree.
You can prune the bushes several times during the growing season. In the spring, shoots that have grown over the winter are cut, but 5-7 internodes should remain on each. For good flowering, it is enough to leave stems 35-50 cm long In summer, light formative pruning is periodically carried out to give the desired size and shape.
In the autumn, stronger pruning is carried out – 50% of the young growth is removed, the tips are cut off, perennial shoots are pinched. This procedure promotes growth and increases the abundance of the next flowering. Old, dry and damaged parts of the plant are removed as needed.
Vines require the installation of support along which they direct and form growing shoots. When growing a stem, only the central stem is left, which is tied to the support, and after reaching the desired height, long shoots are cut off and the crown is formed.
The main peak of decorativeness of the flower reaches the 5th year of life.
How to propagate bougainvillea
From spring to late summer, bougainvillea can be propagated by apical cuttings, as well as allotments. The seed method at home is usually not used, since the seeds of most varieties are not viable.
The substrate for rooting should pass air and moisture well. You can make it from peat and sand (1: 1). Mandatory conditions are high humidity and soil temperature – not lower than 25 °C, so you need to ensure lower heating. To do this, you can use special electric warm mats for seedlings or other improvised means.
From the bush, usually during pruning, semi-woody 10-centimeter cuttings are cut with a sharp and clean tool. First, it is kept for several hours in warm water and then treated with a biostimulant of root formation. After, the cuttings are planted in a container with a warm substrate. You can cover the top with polyethylene or glass, but in this case, you need to open the mini-greenhouse daily. Roots develop within 4-6 weeks.
If there are low-lying shoots on the bush, then you can gently tilt one of the stems and fix it close to the soil. It is desirable to separate the baby plant from the mother plant in spring or autumn.
Until the age of 3-4 years, bougainvillea in the spring of each year is transplanted into more capacious pots. Adult bushes are enough to transplant every 3 years. When transplanting, it is very important not to damage the root system, so it is better to use the method of transshipment with a lump of earth.
Problems in cultivation
Flower growers often wonder – why does bougainvillea not bloom or shed its leaves at home? In most cases, the main reason is violations of the rules of agricultural technology. With a lack of light and nutritious fertilization, as well as with an overabundance of moisture, the wonderful Brazilian refuses to bloom.
- Yellowing of the leaf plates occurs when the soil is excessively moist and the water in the dishes is stagnant. With an excess of moisture, the roots also rot, and the plant dies.
- Bracts lose their color saturation and turn green – this means that the plant lacks light and nutrients. In summer, put the pot in the sunniest place, and in winter, illuminate with artificial lighting (fluorescent lamps, phytolamps).
- If the plant stubbornly does not want to bloom, try to introduce it into a stressful state – transplant it into a tight container and water less often.
- Bougainvillea may respond poorly to some fertilizers, so when using a new fertilizer, start in smaller doses than recommended in the instructions.
- If the leaf blade turns yellow and the veins remain green, there are probably not enough nutrients, particularly iron.
In winter, the plant can lose some of the leaves and this is considered the norm. Even if the bougainvillea sheds all the foliage, do not rush to throw it away! If you provide the flower with regular watering, a sufficient amount of heat and light, most likely, it will quickly recover and give many new shoots.
As for pests, bougainvilleas are practically not susceptible to their attacks. Occasionally, aphids and mealybugs may appear, which are fought with the help of insecticidal drugs.