Thursday, 25 June 2015

Bougainvillea time - sunshine and color for Europe - lucky you xx

I'm having a Bougainvillea kinda of week ! Needing color and sunshine - this weather has gotten chilly and i'm feeling a bit of cabin fever coming on with this renovation of mine x
When you bring one home from the nursery, don’t take it out of its grow pot before planting.  Bougainvilleas do not like having their roots disturbed (but who does?).  Instead, make large cuts in the sides and bottom of the plastic pot so the roots can escape and grow out.
Plant in a sunny, sunny spot (you do want that explosion of color after all!).They like loamy, sandy, dry soil so plant in a spot that has good drainage. Do not over-water them:  not only might this cause them to rot, but it will promote green growth over blossoming.
Remember,  they are not clinging vines, so they need support and attachment.  One of ours is growing across the broad doorway of one of our buildings thanks to a well placed metal trellis.  You can use hooks, ties – you name it.  Just keep helping them along or they’ll surprise you and run wild!
The blossoms may be delicate (the bracts, not the flower, are actually the source of the color) but the thorns are fierce, so exercise care (wear gloves) when you are pruning.  I look like I’ve just stepped out of the lion’s cage after an Edward Scissorhands session with ours – best not done in a bikini! Many manuals will tell you to fertilize them but I don’t and ours grow like beanstalks and burst with many, many blossoms . 
I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with this plant but that’s what keeps me interested.  When the bracts are spent, they drop off en masse and tend to blow into our offices (hey, at least they aren’t cobwebs) and so we’re constantly sweeping up magenta piles of paper-thin leaves.  They can also overtake an area unless you stay on top of the pruning.
Hummingbirds and butterflies love them.  And so do we!

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