January 3, 2011
Beautiful Backlit Bougainvillea
Sunlight, flowers and warmer weather were waiting for us when we visited California over the holidays. Our kids were happy to see Grandma and Papa, and I enjoyed photographing some of the flowers.
These pictures are of Bougainvillea, a flowering vine that is commonly grown in California but never seen outside the greenhouse in Spokane. Since this plant is native to the mild parts of Brazil, it's only hardy in zones 9b and 10.
The showy flowers aren't really flowers at all, but papery bracts. Flowering happens best when the plant is a bit stressed, so gardeners have to be careful not to overwater.
Bougainvillea vines are almost as common as Agapanthus in California, and I wonder if some gardeners there tire of them. I didn't have time to get bored with them during the three years we lived in Silicon Valley.
Since this plant is relatively pest-free and drought tolerant once established, it's a great fit for California gardens. I won't be attempting to grow it as a houseplant, so please enjoy it for me if it grow in your climate!