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"I cringed at Bougies at the start, now I love them."

My Intro into the plant world was through the thorny old plant named The Bougainvillea.

I had a mother and father in law whom had a Bougainvillea farm and ever since I can remember I wished to be in that rose or flower farm, this seemed much more in tune with my vibe at the time. I had no appreciation for these suckers and the endless days of collecting the cuttings and adding a root hormone to their ends was not what I considered a dreamy job, until now.

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Today we're selling these plant babies online and I'm planning to grow a beautiful big white one (white cascade) up the black facade of our family home, because all that moaning gave me an education into how these plants perform and I guess you could say "I cringed at bougies at the start, now I love them".

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The Bougainvillea enjoys open areas where he or she ( I like to refer to my plant babies as boys and girls #crazyplantlady ) can reach for the sun and flower. Yes sadly they all bougainvilleas have thorns, but the thorns enable them to get a grip on tree branches and hustle up towards the light. Some have small thorns and some are larger and a good thing to note is that they don't like wet feet so just make sure the soil is free draining. 

I know I’ll regret saying this, a Bougainvillea loves being put under a bit more stress than most and digs those dry conditions actually, she will thrive off neglect. The plant will produce an abundance of flowers for many months as long as there is plenty of sunshine going around and in a warm position. If you must prune to control, prune lightly at the end of the flowering period. If they are smaller varieties they can be pruned lightly but don't be afraid to give a bit of a cut back in order to keep them nice and bushy a couple of times a year. They can be cut at any time.

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Use a slow release fertiliser Check out your fertiliser NPK. Too much N (Nitrogen) means it will produce more leaves and growth. To encourage flowers you need more (K) Potassium. You can also use potash to get those flowers happening. Full sun and keeping them slightly on the dry side is the key to flowering. They will from time to time send out large fleshy shoots known as water shoots, just cut them out if you see them do that. All in all, Bougainvillea are easy to look after if you do all the above 2-3 times a year it is not a big job and they are awesome as a hedge, you won't find many plants as tough and disease resistant and colourful. 

The Bougie can be used to jazz up an area, cover an ugly wall, fence, pergola, topiary, hedge, hanging basket or just as a pot specimen? There are so many ways you can display this plant. 

A certain vertical spot will need hung rows of wire, cage-like fencing or string against the surface that you want to hide. Tuck the Bougainvillea branches behind or around the preferred support at regular intervals. After a little bit of guidance, she will attach herself. Without support, they just flop down & can become a sprawling beautiful mess. 

Pruning the tips regularly will give you a nice thick blanket over your fence and then just sit back and wait to see the spectacle of colour you just grew from that baby plant.

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