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.