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Bougainvillea cv

Outside, Bougainvillea should be regarded as a real challenge, and indeed any temperatures below -3C are likely to cause damage. Nevertheless, I know of several private gardens in Torbay, and in Cornwall, where it flowers outdoors without protection. There are three species in horticulture – B. spectabilis, B. glabra, and B. peruviana – plus a naturally occurring hybrid, B. x buttiana (still sold as ‘Mrs Butt’), are all from winter-dry parts of tropical South America, and tend to be deciduous in our temperate climate. The stout stems have thorns, and the small flowers are surrounded by brightly coloured bracts. Such is the mixing over the years that the straight species are unlikely to be encountered, but each parent imparts different characteristics, and many cultivars tend towards one more than the other. The name of our cultivar is not known but it is the plant most often seen growing outside in Cornwall and therefore one of the hardier forms around and probably close to B. spectabilis. B. spectabilis cultivars do best in cooler conditions as they are happier to go dormant in winter, these tend to be the purples and reds. The dryer they are during dormancy the better. They often shed many of their leaves when growth resumes in spring, and flowering should occur in summer. If grown under an overhang of house roof, on a south-facing wall, watering is more easily controlled. In warm climates Bougainvillea can be very large, but on the edge of hardiness or in pots they are unlikely to exceed 3m (10ft) and of course they make good conservatory plants

Bougainvillea

 

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