Our Tree of the Month for April is the Bougainvillea plant; a perfect spring gift idea and a blooming good choice even if we do say so ourselves!
There is no denying that Spring is well and truly here. I no longer travel to and from work in the dark, the weather is warmer and the clocks have gone forward - the ultimate sign that Winter has retreated. This is the time of year that people begin to really enjoy getting out and about in their gardens again, so if there is one time of year that a splash of colour in the garden is really appreciated, I think this is it.
You won’t find a plant much brighter than the cheery bougainvillea, and what's more, our bougainvillea gift comes in two different shapes. One bougainvillea plant is shaped into a traditional bush, the other is grown in a tall pyramid, perfect for training as a climber.
Bougainvillea is a species of plant native to South America. It was first discovered by botanist Philibert Commerçon and Louis Antoine de Bougainville when he circumnavigated the world in the 1760’s. By the 19th century, plant nurseries in France and England were growing and supplying them all around the world. Today, bougainvillea remains one of the best loved and most frequently grown species of tropic plant in the world.
There are quite a few quirky little facts that make the bougainvillea plant just that little bit special!
- Looking at a bougainvillea in full bloom, you will be forgiven for thinking that the amazingly colourful magenta-purple bits are the flowers. In fact, those are a special type of leaf known as bracts, and if you look closely, you can see that they have veins like all other leaves. The flowers are in fact tiny delicate white blooms enclosed inside the bracts.
- When grown in climates with steady rainfall and plenty of sunshine, Bougainvillea are actually evergreen vines! When grown in climates with less sunshine, or with a dry season, they become deciduous plants, and retreat into dormancy for part of the year.
Care Advice and Tips
Our main piece of advice for growing bougainvillea? Remember that it is naturally a tropical plant - it needs a minimum night time temperature of 10 degrees C.
It can be grown outside on a South facing wall in summer the South of England very successfully, and then brought in to an unheated porch or greenhouse as soon as the weather turns colder. If you live in a colder area of the UK however, your best chance of growing bougainvillea will be if you keep it indoors in a frost free greenhouse or conservatory all year round; the more sun your conservatory gets, the better!
What are you waiting for? Buy a bougainvillea plant here.