Sunday, December 9, 2007

Bougainvillea 'Barbara Karst'

Bougainvillea 'Barbara Karst'

What most folks think of as Bougainvillea flowers are actually bracts. The papery bracts are colorful, modified leaves that surround the tiny flowers to guide insect pollinators to the plant’s pollen. Once they serve their purpose, the bracts dry, fade, and then fly in the wind carrying the anthocarp (fruit). The tubular flowers are usually white with a yellow throat. If it weren’t for the bracts, the flowers would go unnoticed.

There are dozens of Bougainvillea hybrids and cultivars, perhaps hundreds, with more available each year. They come in a myriad of colors, and some even change color as they age. Hybrids and cultivars are developed for specific purposes, such as for landscape plantings, in baskets and containers, or for special interests such as bonsai. Some are developed for specific climates and conditions. ‘Barbara Karst’ is a Monrovia hybrid that loves the heat and does well in the desert.

Bougainvillea does not take well to transplanting because of its delicate and sensitive root system. Special care is necessary when transferring plants into the landscape or containers. The best way is to cut out the bottom of the original container and set the plant in its new environment, then slide the original container up and over the plant and add potting soil as needed without moving or disturbing the root system.

17 comments:

dilly dalley doolittle said...

What beautiful photographs. We had a bougainvillea vine that grew over a pergola in our front driveway in Sydney, Australia. It was vigorous and grew great shooting arms that went straight up into the air. My poor father would have to climb up and try and tame it. It was a was a wild creature. Beautiful and wild.

Drew said...

That is very interesting. I had never heard of this plant before, it is very pretty.

mr_subjunctive said...

They're pretty (I don't know the variety, but we have a coral-to-hot-pink variety at work), but, you know, those thorns'll go right through a pair of blue jeans, and the bracts make a mess in a greenhouse. I'm forever picking up Bouganvillea flowers, or Begonia flowers, at work.

Leah said...

Beautiful flower and great shot. Love the reds.

btw, your garden looks amazing (post below)

My GTS is posted at
http://www.mga-munimuni.info/

Angie said...

I love Bougainvillea! They are such a delicate looking plant. Of course, they are only a seasonal potted plant here in KY.

And thanks for the information. I, like many others, always considered the bright bracts to be the flower. I will take a closer look next summer at these beauties!

kml said...

It's like having two kinds of flowers on one plant. They are beautiful!

Eaglehawk said...

That is beautiful red. Thanks for sharing.

sisah said...

Wonderful colours , I have never seen such an unususal red. But Bougainvillea are not really made for this climate here,even though my sister grows one in pots. I never dared to do so.
Have a nice GTS
Sisah from Germany

MrBrownThumb said...

Bougies

Are the one plant that I wish we could grow around here. When I lived in AZ I used to love how people used them to soften the of the walls that seem to surround every home.

Muum said...

Oh, I love those bouganvillas! they are beautiful. I am always torn when I see a pot of them at my local store, because I love the color, but know I'd probably just not get the plant inside in time for the winter, and lose it. Plus, they look their best in a big, overwhelming bunch, hanging over a fence or wall, not just in a measly little pot.
lovely, lovely!

Sara from farmingfriends said...

Your photos are bright and colourful and the flowers are so dainty and lovely.
Sara from farmingfriends

Genie said...

Gorgeous color and thanks for that education on the bougainvillea -- I didn't know that much about them, but have always enjoyed seeing them. Happy GTS!

Correy said...

Spectacular pictures, I like how it has a relationship within the same flower.

Julie said...

What a lovely close-up! Very interesting information too! We had a Bouganvilla, and right after Hurricane Andrew in 1992, we got the Storm of the Century just afterward in 1993, and it took out a huge Bouganvilla right by my front door! We were huddled in our hallway under blankets...and the winds were so high (and very scary here), it snapped the trunk off level to the ground...it fell over into our carport! Talk about a sad morning, when we opened our front door...
They have so many stunning colors available now ...I want to plant a cluster of all the colors together in a place were everyone passing by our house will see them...except for one thing that keeps me from doing it...THORNS!
Happy day...

Anonymous said...

Chigiy at Gardener’s Anonymous said:

I really like Bougainvillea because they are so bright. I haven't had any since I had kids because they have such big thorns. I guess you don't care about thorns though, do you? Ha.

Now that my kids are getting bigger, I'm thinking or getting one to place against this storage shed I have.

kate said...

You would laugh if you saw my 'Barbara Karst' ... It currently resides in my living room picture window. Over the summer, it had lots of colourful bracts, which gradually fell off. I pressed them. A few weeks ago, it started producing more bracts- much, much smaller and a paler colour than the ones this summer. If I can keep it alive, I'll be happy. One of these days, I will put a photograph of it on my blog.

I imagine your vines look heavenly!

No Rain said...

Thanks for all the comments!

Bougainvillea comes in every color imaginable, including white, red, pink, purple, yellow and everything shade and hue of all those colors, including metallic.
It is thorny and messy, but beautiful if those things don't matter.