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Scientific Classification
  • B. spectabilis
  • B. glabra

Bougainvilleas are known as beautiful, vibrant, and colorful plants. They were discovered in Brazil in 1768 by Admiral Louis de Bougainvillea. The two modern day species are Bougainvillea spectabilis and Bougainvillea glabra. Both species are similar yet have slightly different bracts and appearances. They are seen all over the U.S., but are more common in extremely hot climates. They grow better in lots of sun and less shade. They are mainly climbing plants, yet can be grown in planter pots. They are also virtually insect free so most people are fine having them indoors. Yet, most gardeners also use them to cover large areas of land because they grow continuously and choke out weeds. In addition to that, they have such unique, vibrant colors and provide beautiful scenery. [2]

The growing of Bougainvillea plants is best in warm climates where the length of day and night is virtually the same. They grow best when they get around five hours of full sun. These beautiful plants have two growth cycles: vegetative growth period and the blooming period. These are the two times of major growth and development in the plants. Overall, these gorgeous flowers are rather simple to maintain and provide a pop of color wherever they are. [3]

Body Design


The Bougainvillea plant appears a stunning plant that is seen in many versatile colors, from pink to red, purple to magenta. They are known as evergreen woody vines that produce beautiful flowers. They are known to have thorns so one must be careful when maintaining and pruning them. They also have beautiful leaves called bracts, that fall often, thus making the ground beautiful, but creating a mess at the same time. They are easily formed, and can be groomed in certain ways to make them appear in unique shapes. They can grow on their own, or they can be wrapped around different structures. They prefer full sun yet can still live in a little shade. They are beautiful plants, yet require a decent amount of maintenance to keep them looking nice. They also last well in dry climates and are drought resistant for the most part. They look gorgeous and provide magnificent color for all to see. [4]

Life Cycle

Most of the time, bougainvillea are free growing plants, climbing walls and other structures, but they can be grown in pots as well. The growing process of Bougainvillea involves lots of heat and water. To begin planting Bougainvillea, one can start with a short clipping in a pot of soil. [5] Bougainvillea commonly go through two cycles throughout the year while growing. The weather sometimes alters the growing stages, but they remain somewhat the same. One of the stages,the plant will grow stems and leaves for a few weeks; this is known as the vegetative growth cycle. The second cycle is one where the plant will continue growing and begin to sprout bracts, the buds of the flower. If the plant receives the allotted sun time of five hours a day, then it should grow according to seasons. Both of these cycles take place at different times in the year, spring and fall. [6]



Bougainvilleas have been known to grow best in warm weather with lots of sunlight. They can still survive in areas with temperatures around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Yet they are most comfortable at temperatures around 80 or 85 degrees during the day. They do not need very much rain to stay hydrated, and grow well in drained soil, it being acidic. They do not grow well in soil that is full of water. Most bougainvillea planters try to stay away from areas of high wind and storms because the bark detaches from the plant and will then begin to wilt. This damages the plant greatly and takes time to recover.

Bougainvillea are known for covering vast areas thus they are not the best for small areas. Bougainvilleas can also be planted in large areas because they choke out weeds. They do have thorns though so the gardener must be careful where he/she places them. The plant draws much attention and people will be stunned by the beauty.[7]

Spectabilis and Glabra

The beautiful Bougainvillea plant contains two main different species: spectabilis and glabra. The spectabilis was first discovered in Brazil by a man named Carl Ludwig Willdenow, in 1798. Spectabilis leaves tend to take a large, and egg shape form. They are also covered in hair and stems unlike the glabra. The spectabilis also contains thorns that can be large and/or bent. Another are that spectabilis and glabra differ is the outside edge. For the spectabilis, along the edge appears rippled and wavelike. The bracts can come in various colors such as pink, purple, red, and even white.

The other of the two species of bougainvillea is the glabra. The glabra was also discovered in Brazil yet by a man named Jacques Denys Choisy, in 1850. Glabra leaves resemble elongated leaves and are covered with a shiny outside layer. Unlike the spectabilis, the glabra leaves do not have hair and are much smoother. The shapes of the flower petals vary depending on the plant. Mostly, the bracts are seen in a vibrant purple color, with white or cream flower petals. In comparison to the spectabilis, the thorns of the glabra are small yet also bend at the tip. The flowers appear similar in looks yet differentiate when it comes to their cycle of blooming and the hair on the flower. [8]


This video describes Bougainvilleas and proper maintenance for the plants.



  1. Bougainvillea glabra USDA. Web. Date of Access, May 6th, 2012. Unknown Author.
  2. Growing Bougainvilleas Aggie Horticulture. Web. Date of Access 22 May 2012. Unknown Author.
  3. Braswell, Gordon. Bougainvillea Information Bougainvillea Information. Web. Date of Access 22 May 2012.
  4. Hedding, Judy. Bougainvillea Web. Date of Access. May 6th, 2012.
  5. Growing Bougainvilleas Aggie Horticulture. Web. Date of Access, May 6th, 2012. Unknown Author.
  6. Mazur, Giselle. Life Cycle of Bougainvillea Web. Date of Access, May 6th, 2012.
  7. Kobayashi, Kent. Bougainvillea Cooperative Extension Service. Web. Date of Access. 19 May 2012.
  8. Kobayashi, Kent. Bougainvillea Cooperative Extension Service. Web. Date of Access. 19 May 2012.