There are many more bougainvillea varieties than the few carried by most garden centers. The newer colors and types of bougainvillea vines have been bred to branch and bloom more freely.
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Bougainvillea vines bloom in nearly every color you can imagine. There are hot, tropical hues and soft pastels.
Bi-colored types, like the pink flushed white 'Apple Blossom' shown here, and types with variegated leaves.
Usually, variegated Bougainvillea varieties have green leaves with white or yellow edges.
'Elizabeth Angus' features a bushy growth habit and persistent bracts.
The colorful bracts that form at the tips of each branch of the vine are not really flowers, although it does not harm to think of them that way.
They serve the same purpose.
Bougainvillea flowers are actually the tiny white things inside the bracts.
Types of Bougainvillea Vines
Only a few types will be obtainable through the retail garden centers. You will have to buy the others online. There is an Amazon.com widget at the bottom of this page offering several different kinds of Bougainvillea plants.
'Barbara Karst '- red flowers on a thorny vine up to 20 feet tall.
'Vera Purple' Bougainvillea - Pinkish purple flowers on a bushy plant that is almost always in bloom. Easily trained to standard.
'Raspberry Ice' - brick red blooms backed by variegated foliage. A heavy bloomer and one of the most cold tolerant.
'Easter Parade' - a low growing pink flowered shrub.
The variegated 'Raspberry Ice'
If you want a very new or unique Bougainvillea cultivar, you may have to order it from a specialty nursery. It is well worth doing this as you can obtain a plant that precisely fits your planting scheme. Some of the more unique plants available are:
'Pink Pixie' - A miniature type, good for bonsai or topiary. The nodes on each stem are closely spaced, so the leaves and bright purplish pink flowers are packed tightly together.
'Torch Glow' is pink--not orange or red as the name would suggest. The interesting thing about this 6 foot tall and wide shrub is the way it holds its flowers. The blooms are all clustered at the ends of the stems--much like those of a butterfly bush. This one grows very nicely in pots and has few thorns.
A 'Bambino' series including about 20 miniatures has been developed in Queensland, Australia. These grow to a height of 3 feet and flower profusely.
'Golden Ice' bears pink, orange, and peach flowers with variegated leaves.
The list goes on and on. There are true purples available as well as pure whites.
Choose the plant that matches your garden plan.
If you plan to grow it in a 15 inch pot, one of the miniatures would be the best choice. A larger shrub will quickly outgrow this container.
If you want a shrub, choose one of the bougainvillea varieties that naturally grows in this fashion. Or you'll constantly be pruning a climber in an attempt to force it to stay low and fill out.
If you want to grow bougainvillea plants in hanging baskets, a vine is the way to go.