Due to the "Safer at Home" orders in place because of coronavirus, Adam and I have been spending a lot of time taking drives with no destination in mind. During one of our most recent ventures, we spotted the most beautiful wall of bouganvillea flowering on a street in Belleair.
I'm not sure if I ever saw bouganvillea growing on Long Island, but I do remember the first time I ever noticed it. Over twenty years ago, I took a cruise to Bermuda, and I remember noticing these colorful walls of flowers growing everywhere, like up the sides of houses, along fences, in flower pots. I remember asking my mom what it was, and I've loved it ever since.
Here are some bougainvillea facts for you. If you’re like me, you’re learning lots of trivia tidbits while in social isolation.
1️⃣ It’s virtually pest-free and disease resistant, so if you take good care of it, you get rewarded with lots of color. Another positive is that it attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.
2️⃣ It’s so versatile that you can grow it in a pot, you can let it grow into a tree, you can let it spread up a wall, or you can let it take over and do it’s thing, much like what’s happened here.
3️⃣ Like palm trees and hibiscus, it’s a tropical plant that’s synonymous with Florida, but it’s native to Brazil.
4️⃣ It will flower best in North America when day and night are almost equal length. However, in northern states it’s too cold for it to flower in fall. Down here in Florida, bougainvillea puts on the best show in “winter.” It doesn't do so well in the summer months down here because the days are too long and sunny, and we also get a lot of rain. It prefers dryer days and cooler nights.
5️⃣ The colorful part of the bougainvillea is a “bract” that surrounds the actual flower, which is tiny and white. The bracts resemble tissue paper, which is why bougainvillea is also referred to as “paper flower.” The bracts can be pink, red, raspberry, white, orange, peach, or purple.