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Master Gardener: Bougainvillias

In the South, where it is hardy, bougainvillea is trained on trellises and for porch screening, or in hanging baskets for cascading color and effect.

In colder climates, the plant is used in pots and can be trained on a trellis on an enclosed porch, heated sunroom or wide windowsill that gets full sun. It can be used in tubs on the patio for portable color in the summer.

This fine climber can be started from seeds, cuttings or from potted plants. It is not difficult to grow and care for, once it has become established.

Seeds can be started in the spring and will germinate in 30 days. Cuttings can be taken in spring and will grow fairly fast. Both seedlings and rooted cuttings will make faster growth in a heated, sunny location.

Bougainvillea thrives in a soil mix of two parts rich top soil to one part each of sphagnum peat moss and clean coarse sand. An alternate mix would be a part each of loam, sand and peat.

Bougainvillea comes in several colors. Blooming can be extended by pinching spent flowers back. For a wealth of bright color and attractive green foliage, try growing a bougainvillea vine.

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