Bougainvillea is native to South America. This climbing vine is grown for its prolific, colourful blooms, which are bracts, or modified leaves. Bougainvillea is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zone 10, but will survive with some protection in zone 9.
Bougainvillea is used for hedging, hanging baskets and espalier. The vine can also be trained as a standard in a single-trunked tree form. Dwarf cultivars are used as ground covers.
Bougainvillea prefers full sun and readily climbs fences and trees, spreading from 15 to 40 feet. It blooms in summer and its flower bracts come in many colours -- purple and red are most common, but cultivars are available in apricot, white, yellow and orange.
Bougainvillea is propagated by stem cuttings. The cultivars available to gardeners don't normally produce seeds, and those that do produce sterile seeds. To locate bougainvillea seed, your best bet is to contact other gardeners who may have harvested seed from their own plants and see if they'd like to swap seeds with you. The Seed Savers Exchange is one organisation whose members share seeds.
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