Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Paper Flower, Lesser Bougainvillea
Bougainvillea glabra

Family: Nyctaginaceae (nyk-taj-i-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Bougainvillea (boo-gan-VIL-lee-uh) (Info)
Species: glabra (GLAY-bruh) (Info)

7 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials
Vines and Climbers

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:
Magenta (Pink-Purple)

Bloom Time:
Blooms repeatedly

Grown for foliage

Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From woody stem cuttings
From softwood cuttings
From semi-hardwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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By Floridian
Thumbnail #1 of Bougainvillea glabra by Floridian

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There are a total of 20 photos.
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4 positives
3 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive stephenp On Nov 14, 2009, stephenp from Wirral, UK, Zone 9a
United Kingdom (Zone 9a) wrote:

In the UK, this plant is not hardy anywhere but is grown in central London outside, and even in zone 9a I have managed to keep it alive over two winters in a sheltered spot outside. The usefulness of this is that it doesn't become invasive like in other areas which have summer heat.

It does however produce a great display from March-December, and although in winter it becomes sometimes semi-deciduous, it comes back fast.

My particular plant has taken -2C in its sheltered corner.

Neutral frostweed On Jan 12, 2007, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Paper Flower, Lesser Bougainvillea Bougainvillea glabra is Naturalized in Texas and other States.

Positive artcons On May 1, 2005, artcons from Fort Lauderdale, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

I have many varieties of Bougainvillea and love them all. I have my North side border fence lined with nine varieties all of a different leaf or bract color. I find these plants very easy to train and shape. They grow well in containers or out in the yard. They can be trained as a small bush, a tall bush, and even into decorative and colorful arches.

Neutral WalterT On Jun 11, 2004, WalterT from San Diego, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

Here in Southern California this plant will cover a whole house in a few years if you let it! The colors of the "flowers" are brilliant and it is spectacular to see a long fence with 4 or 5 different colors alternating along it. The spines are long, hard and sharp, so be careful...
Take it easy on the water. It is surprising how little the plant needs once established. WTH.

Positive marshtackie On Jun 10, 2004, marshtackie from Orlando, FL wrote:

The ones I grow in pots bloom much better than the ones in the open ground. That's because my predecessors here planted them stupidly. They get too much shade from the eaves and they're too close to the lawn, so they spend all their time sending out their roots to steal nitrogen from the lawn and making lots of green leaves and few bracts. Someone across the street had a magnificent bougainvillea, unobstructed southern exposure and against a white wall. And cut it down, can you believe it???

They will freeze in a hard winter, but they come back. The potted ones have to be hauled inside. They are not bug-prone. One orange or gold one I had (Tahitian gold? California gold?) regularly sported back to scarlet, either part of a bract or an entire one.

Someone commented that most commercially available plants today are hybrids btw B. glabra and B. spectabilis. Well, maybe so, but I have some typically glabra plants that have distinctly different leaves (darker green, pointier, shinier) and growth habit (stiffer, less lax canes, more readily trainable as shrub rather than vine). These always have magenta bracts. Also, B. peruviana seems to contribute its share of genes to the hybrids too.

Positive sidchu On Feb 17, 2003, sidchu wrote:

I would like to add that it requires a soil mixture of a ph level of 6.5. Thank You.

Neutral Floridian On Nov 12, 2001, Floridian from Lutz, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Bougainvillea is a thorny vine, up to 20 feet long. It can be grown as an evergreen shrub and will bloom year around in frost free locations. A frost will kill most of the branches, but the plant should grow back rapidly from the roots. The bougainvillea root system is extremely fragile. The plant doesn't like to be moved. Take extra caution when removing the plant from the pot before placing it in the ground. The flowers are small and white. There are three flowers inside each colorful bracht. Once established, plants are drought resistant. Propogate by cuttings from mid-winter to early spring, keep soil mixture moist. Bottom heat may help. Most bougainvillea sold today are hybrids between B glabra and B spectabalis.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Montgomery, Alabama
Tucson, Arizona
Elk Grove, California
Manhattan Beach, California
Sacramento, California
San Diego, California (2 reports)
Torrance, California
Bartow, Florida
Big Pine Key, Florida
Bradley, Florida
Brooksville, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Hollywood, Florida
Kissimmee, Florida
Lutz, Florida
Maitland, Florida
Ocala, Florida
Ocoee, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Saint Augustine, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Honomu, Hawaii
Kealakekua, Hawaii
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Lafayette, Louisiana
Ocean Springs, Mississippi
Harlingen, Texas
Kyle, Texas

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