There are 40 types of Bougainvillea in this list including dwarf, semi-dwarf, extra large, and even thornless varieties.
Thinking of the perfect blooms for picturesque garden scenery and blissful aroma to go with the setting? You can go wrong by incorporating different types of bougainvillea.
This floral plant adds beautiful color to any garden – with its colors contrasting with deep greenery. When properly incorporated into any garden, the flowering plant does an excellent job of highlighting your natural landscape and masterpiece.
However, to make the most of these showy blooms, you need to learn about the different types of bougainvillea available. With well-equipped knowledge, you can easily find the perfect variety for your garden.
We’ve put together an informative list of the most relevant bougainvillea varieties available so you can take your pick.
Table of Contents
What Is Bougainvillea?
Bougainvillea refers to a showy woody and thorny vine with blooms native to South America. A tropical native, bougainvillea grows in plant hardiness zones 9b and higher. The warm plant is drought tolerant and high salt tolerant.
Due to this, bougainvillea is a popular all year-round ornamental plant in warm climates and coaster areas such as Florida and California. While the plant is native to warmer climates and is frost sensitive, it can still grow pretty well in cold climates.
But, to successfully grow the plant in cold climates, you have to plant it in a pot, hanging basket, or as a houseplant. Nonetheless, you will certainly limit the height when you grow bougainvillea in a pot. While the plant grows in most areas, you should certainly move it indoors when grown in a pot.
The bougainvillea plant comes in a wide range of categories, varieties, and colors. Most commonly, it is differentiated through categories such as size, including dwarf, semi-dwarf, and extra large varieties. You can also categorize them in other characteristics, such as fast growers, thornless, and bi-colors, to mention a few.
Through these categories, you will discover an endless array of colorful displays, ranging from purple to red, orange, cream, and white, among others.
40 Common Types Of Bougainvillea
There are over 250 bougainvillea varieties available across the world. These varieties come with a wide selection of special characteristics, including thornless, dwarf, and giant varieties. While some varieties grow to about 2 feet tall others can go up to 40 feet tall. Here are some of the most common and easily available varieties;
Also known as mini bougainvillea, the dwarf varieties grow and spread to about 3 to 5 feet. These varieties are ideal for small spaces or potted plants.
1. Easter Parade
Growing to about 3 to 5 feet, the Easter parade variety grows beautiful lilac blossoms with deep green foliage to add a graceful look to your garden. The dwarf variety is best showcased as a tiny hedge or in garden pots.
2. Hugh Evans
Also known as the Fair Lady, this hybrid variety produces pale coral blooms that pair well with deep-colored blossoms from other plants. Adding this variety to your garden offers the much-needed color contrast to produce an edgy interest.
The Hugh Evans features a scandent evergreen shrub look with the flowers growing in clusters of three supported by simple green ovate leaves. This variety sometimes develops thrones and sometimes it doesn’t. The High Evans grows to about 3 to 5 feet tall and wide.
3. James Walker
If you want an elegant landscaping floral arrangement, a dwarf bougainvillea variety is the way to go. Also known as Ambiance, the James Walker bougainvillea is amongst the most popular dwarf varieties. In addition to being an excellent landscaping plant, the James Walker is also great in garden pots, hanging baskets, or trailing on entryways or arbors.
You can also cultivate the James Walker bougainvillea as a bonsai specimen. This variety usually comes in small clusters with beautiful hot pink ruffled flowers that open from showy orange buds. The hot pink flowers are supported by large contrasting light green leaves.
4. Helen Johnson
For a showy, bright ground cover especially in your garden pathway or rock garden, the Helen Johnson doesn’t disappoint. The dwarf plant features miniature leaves that start with a greenish-tan finish that transition to deep, dark green at maturity. Its coppery orange buds open up to bold pink mini florals.
5. Sunvillea Rose
This unique variety grows in succeeding culmination of pink or magenta flower clusters that resemble garden roses. These flower clusters are accentuated by green leaf foliage. They are a perfect option for achieving a bright, eye-catching garden look. The mini variety grows to about 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide. To achieve this spectacular ornamental look, you want to leave the flowers in full sun exposure and occasionally water them.
6. Pink Pixie
The Pink Pixie has a similar look to the Sunvillea rose. However, it has one distinct feature. Unlike the culmination of the flower clusters in the Sunvillea Rose, the Pink Pixie grows a tightly packed arrangement of pink flowers.
But, each layer of the tightly packed blooms is supported by yellow-green leaves that help the flowers pop out better. The dwarf variety grows between 2 and 4 feet tall with a spread of 2 to 3 feet. The showy pink florals also attract pollinators, such as butterflies, and birds.
Growing to about 3 to 4 feet tall, the rosenka is a bi-colored variety that boasts rich gold-colored flowers that transition to pink as they age. These pretty and bright varieties are great potted and arranged in your garden or near the pool.
The best part is their dwarf size allows you to fit them in a range of your favorite small to large pots. You can also line them with different shades of flowering plants such as deeper pink or purple shades for a truly classy interest.
8. Yani’s Delight
Measuring 2 to 3 feet tall, the Yani’s Delight is a smaller shrub with colors reminiscent of the cherry blossom tree. So, if you want to bring a beautiful Japanese garden to your home, you can do so with this variety.
The dwarf bougainvillea grows violet and pink round flowers surrounded by creamy white bracts. These showy blooms appear from late spring through mid-fall and grow well in a sunny wall, patio, or even potted.
9. Crimson Red
The Crimson Red bougainvillea effortlessly brings a spark of life to your garden thanks to its attractive bracts. As suggested by its name, this variety grows bright crimson red bract heads offset by their thick emerald green leaves.
Growing to about 5 feet tall, the crimson red variety is a prolific climber and can be added to an arbor or hung against the wall for a showy summer display. Alternatively, you can add the plant to hanging baskets and let the elegant bright blooms flow.
10. Don Fernando
The Don Fernando variety grows spectacular flower-like bracts that one can only describe as anywhere from intense tomato red to crimson red. To make this variety’s blooms even more unique, it grows minuscule white flowers surrounded by the bracts to bring out the beauty of the plant.
This ultra fast growth is at its best during the summer season – so it makes the perfect option for adding an exciting interest to your garden.
11. Orange Ice
To enjoy this variety’s attractive spectacle, you want to plant Orange Ice in hanging baskets. The vine tends to develop thick blossoms that are only accentuated by their variegated foliage and flow from the basket quite spectacularly.
Growing to about 2 to 4 feet long, these climbing vines develop thin stems that make them easier to handle. You can also set these deep orange blooms onto a trellis or fence for an artistic climbing performance.
12. Temple Fire
The “temple fire” title really does this variety justice. As the title suggests, the plant features intense fuchsia pink bracts with a touch of orange to stand out anywhere you place it in your yard. The subtropical South American dwarf native survives best in sunny and humid conditions.
It does a particularly incredible job of highlighting the thick and intense flower-like bracts when planted in large pots. The versatile dwarf variety can be presented in a wide range of ways, including lining the pots in your back porch, as hedges, or even hanging multiple baskets for a pop of color.
13. Sunvillea Cream
Resembling its close cousin, the Sunvillea Rose, the Sunvillea Cream is differentiated from the former through its creamy-colored bracts. Unlike the rose varieties that bloom during summer, the cream varieties bloom from spring through summer.
You can pair the Sunvillea cream with Sunvillea rose in your garden for an elegant color contrast floral setup. The cream color also allows this bougainvillea variety to pair pretty well with a wide range of other colorful flowering plants.
Semi-dwarf varieties grow slightly more than their dwarf counterparts and use up moderate space. From here on, bougainvillea of this size is slightly large for pots, so semi-dwarf options are best grown in soil.
14. Royal Purple
Unlike most bougainvillea varieties, the Royal Purple grows into a shrub rather than a vine. It’s because of this characteristic that the Royal Purple variety makes for an excellent landscaping shrub. The flowering shrub grows thick vibrant deep purple flower clusters that instantly give your outdoor life when used for landscaping.
But, like many bougainvillea varieties, royal purple survives best and produces the most beautiful blossoms when exposed to full sunlight. However, this shrub like bougainvillea survives in most types of soil and does just fine with infrequent watering. The royal purple variety typically grows to about 5 to 15 feet tall.
15. Purple Queen
Amongst the deepest purple varieties, the Purple Queen is what you invest in to achieve a truly standing out home exterior. These bright vines work best over the wall, fence, or trellis. A semi-smaller variety, the Purple Queen grows to about 15 feet and develops small creamy white round flowers enveloped by violet bracts. This showy interest is at its peak during late spring to mid-fall.
16. Vera Deep Purple
A patented semi dwarf variety, the Vera Deep Purple variety grows an elegant fuchsia cluster of flowers accentuated by round light green leaves. This semi-dwarf variety grows to about 4 feet tall and wide and allows you to control its shape through pruning. This variety of bougainvillea stands out as a potted plant in your garden or porch.
17. Imperial Delight
The imperial delight variety develops white blooms that turn faint pink during maturation. This gives the illusion of bi-colored flowers – think of an elegant floral centerpiece as part of wedding decor. Their spectacular look makes them a worthy addition to any garden space.
While they bloom all year round, these varieties develop their most beautiful showy look during spring to early summer. The imperial delight grows to about 10 to 20 feet tall. However, you can easily half the height through pruning.
18. Paper Flower
Also known as bougainvillea glabra, Scarlet O’ Hara or lesser bougainvillea, paper flower is among the most common varieties. While you can use it in your garden, it is a more common option for bonsai. It is also perfect for training trellis or climbing walls.
Think of a white or cream Spanish style villa with spectacular flowering plants growing on the outside. The plant typically grows to about 20 feet tall. But, in some cases, it can extend to about 30 feet tall. But, you can always control the height and width through pruning. The vine also develops clusters of subtle deep magenta to red bracts that resemble an artistic bonsai.
Extra Large Varieties
Sometimes referred to as full sized or giant varieties, extra large bougainvillea grows to be massive vines and develops pretty showy blooms that transform your garden’s landscape. But, due to their massive size, they may need extensive space dedicated to them.
19. Great Bougainvillea
Also known as Bougainvillea spectabilis or brasiliensis, the great bougainvillea is a close cousin of the paper flower. The only difference between the two is the varied slightly hairy texture underneath the great bougainvillea leaves. Further, this variety tends to grow slightly taller, between 15 and 40 feet.
20. James Walker
The James Walker variety is one of the unusual looking varieties. It grows reddish-purple flowers with a white center to create an elegant interest in any outdoor space. As you would expect from a giant bougainvillea, the James Walker grows to about 20 to 30 feet tall.
21. Texas Dawn
The Texas Dawn variety grows thick multi-clusters of bi-colored light pink bracts that transition to dark pink shades as it ages. The vine adds that subtle and relaxing interest to your garden. You can even easily blend the vine into your décor on days you plan to host garden gatherings during the day.
22. Bougainvillea Buttiana
The Buttiana variety is not natural but rather a garden hybrid between glabra and peruviana. This award winning hybrid produces an elegant looking evergreen vine with trumpet shaped white flowers and thorny stems.
The white flowers grow in clusters surrounded by bright magenta rose papery bracts that complement any garden space. This hybrid garden plant can also survive warm temperate to subtropical climates with temperatures of up to 30 degrees Fahrenheit.
23. Barbra Karst
A hybrid bougainvillea, the Barbra Karst is one of the hardiest varieties – surviving just fine in the driest of locations. The Barbra Karst bougainvillea variety produces eye-catching magenta to rose leafy bracts surrounded by tiny white flowers that bloom all year round.
This variety is an especially interesting option for when you want large, showy flowering vines for your garden or even front yard. The vine grows up to 30 to 40 feet tall and grows well in slightly acidic, well drained soil under full sun exposure.
24. Lady Baring
Also known as Hawaiian Gold or Yellow Glory, the Lady Baring gets its name from the multitude of bright yellow showy clusters of blooms it develops. The extra large and fast-growing bougainvillea requires generous exposure to full sun to grow these beautiful blooms.
Yet, when properly cared for, it adds a pretty distinctive look to your garden. In fact, this variety bam extends up to 30 feet tall and 10 feet wide. On the other hand, its robust branches allow you to incorporate it in areas such as your walls where it can climb.
25. Orange King
If you want a less common colorful display in your garden, the Orange King is an excellent option. Like the name suggests, the variety grows a cluster of deep orange to orange-red flowers that bring your garden to life during the summer season.
Like the Barbra Karst variety, the Orange King variety grows to 30 feet tall but prefers somewhat dry and well drained soil under full sun.
26. Gold Rush
The hybrid gold rush variety grows beautiful showy yellow blooms that are accentuated by their green foliage. Growing up to 20 feet tall at maturity, the plant has a ground-hugging character which can add a great look to your garden.
On the other hand, its medium texture and contrasting yellow blooms with green foliage blend easily with most plants in your garden. To get the best look, pair it with white and other tallow to orange flower shades.
27. White Stripe
The white stripe variety acts as a clean and refined backdrop for pairing with colorful flowering plants for an artist’s worthy garden. You can also use the vine as ground cover. The evergreen vine grows clear white to cream flower-like bract clusters with green and white variegated foliage. The flowers are at their peak best during the warmer seasons.
Bougainvillea is known to grow thorns as its main characteristic. However, you should expect to come across varieties that don’t possess their typical features. These include thornless varieties that don’t grow thorns on them.
28. New River
The new river bougainvillea is among the most versatile varieties, allowing you to decorate it however you want. Growing to about 20 to 40 feet tall, the vine lets you trail it on your wall or even display it as bonsai. It grows showy intense purple bracts that surround minuscule white flowers for an elegant finish. But, the best part of this flowering plant is its blooming habits that occur nearly all year round.
29. Purple Queen
Growing to about 20 feet tall, the purple queen bougainvillea is a show-stealing, spreading variety. In fact, this variety can climb up to 15 feet high. It grows deep purple petal-like bracts that stand subtly against its equally deep green foliage.
Also known as Moneth, the purple queen has a compact and upright shrub-like finish that complements your garden space, fence, or arbor. You can also use it as a colorful annual if you live in a cold climate.
30. Elizabeth Angus
Although it’s considered violet, the Elizabeth Angus variety is sometimes known as the purple bougainvillea. The vine is adorned with bright magenta to violet blooms for excellent ground cover or to drape patios and arbors. This shrubby vine grows to about 12 to 15 feet tall.
31. Rosa Preciosa
Extending to about 16 feet tall, the South American Rosa Preciosa features small pink white flowers enveloped by pink bracts. The medium-sized frost-proof bougainvillea can be grown on soil. However, it showcases its beauty much easier in a large pot.
The Rosa Preciosa is an excellent house plant typically loves a humid environment under direct sunlight. You can also grow this variety during the summer outdoors or plant it as a tender annual.
32. Miami Pink
Among the larger bougainvillea varieties, Miami pink grows to 20 to 30 feet and develops hot pink showy blooms. You will enjoy this pretty sight every late spring to early fall. Nonetheless, you will enjoy a spectacular change of color nearly all year round with the buds starting at purple before turning pink when the flower opens.
Tip: Planted in the right location, like your garden’s entryway, the Miami pink variety provides a prolific interest.
33. Juanita Hatten
Native to Brazil, the Juanita Hatten features a vivid arrangement of beautiful deep, and crisp red bracts. Growing to about 40 feet tall, the vine is an excellent garden border, privacy screen, or even as a landscape tree.
In warmer climates, it is evergreen and survives pretty well even in humid areas. In colder climates, it is deciduous and retains its beautiful showy flowers and foliage only when it is kept as a houseplant.
34. Rainbow Gold
An almost deciduous vine, the rainbow gold displays intense apricot peachy orange flowers that bloom from spring through fall. This multicolored vine does the job for you blending its multi-colored display just right, bringing life to your garden.
However, you can also use it as a backdrop on the wall or fence. Further, while it’s a large bougainvillea variety, you can grow the rainbow gold in soil or large pots.
35. Sundown Orange
The highly prized Sundown Orange boasts spectacular thick flower blossoms that easily stand out on their own. Growing from 10 to 30 feet tall, you can plant these varieties in hanging baskets or let them climb and trail on a wall, fence, trellis, or arbour for a more dramatic and eye-catching look.
Nonetheless, it’s not just their versatility that gives them the “prized” title. Sundown orange bougainvillea is also popular for its unique triple color-changing stages. The vine develops delicate white flowers while their stunning bracts change their colors.
The plant starts with hot orange paper petal-like bracts that transition to bright yellow color and ultimately, end up with a deep salmon-pink color. Paired with their deeper green foliage, the vine really produces a showy pop of color in your garden.
A large variety, growing to about 25 to 40 feet tall, the Afterglow is an imposing plant. Yet, its light-colored blossoms present a pretty elegant and relaxing interest. The variety grows free flowering bi-colored bracts in bright yellow and orange clusters. The bracts are surrounded by tiny creamy white flowers to give the plant its signature look.
This hybrid variety blooms almost all year round, in warm winter times and during summer through fall. The Afterglow is great for mass planting, wall or fence side bordering, as ground cover, and in rock gardens. You can also plant this variety in large pots.
37. California Gold
The California Gold is one of the most prolific yellow bougainvillea varieties, growing between 15 to 30 feet tall and wide. The shrub-like vine develops beautiful, showy blossoms that start off pale gold and transition to orangey bronze at maturity.
The plant is pretty drought and heat tolerant, but it is known to attract a variety of pollinators – so, it’s great for your garden! You can also enjoy this sightly explosion of colors indoors by planting California Gold as a houseplant.
38. Miss Alice
Also known as moonlight, Mauna Kea white, or Singapore white, the Miss Alice variety is popular for its thornless growth. This variety grows small white flower clusters that blend well in the backdrop of other colorful blooms.
In fact, the Miss Alice variety features a semi-dwarf build, reaching between 2 to 3 feet tall. This allows it to pair with other flowering plants easily. You can also plant the Miss Alice variety as ground cover or in a mass planting.
Tip: You can pair Miss Alice with its close cousin, the semi-thornless Singapore pink, to blend the former’s white flower clusters with the latter’s beautiful pale pink blooms.
39. Mary Palmer’s Enchantment
Also, a variety of bougainvillea, Mary Palmer’s Enchantment is surprisingly native to the UK. But, this variety still survives the typical bougainvillea environment – surviving dry but well-drained soil and loving exposure to full sun. Mary Palmer’s Enchantment grows outstanding snow-white blossoms that are further accentuated by their glossy green foliage.
To truly enjoy this striking blossom sight, attach your climbing vine to an arbour, trellis, patio, fence or wall and trail it to cover the supporting structure how you want it. Alternatively, you can display this prolific vine as a hedge; plant it in a hanging basket or pot.
40. San Diego Red
Just because you live in a cold climate, it doesn’t mean you can get a taste of this prolific plant. If you want a bougainvillea for a cold climate, the San Diego Red is the ultimate cold-tolerant variety to go for. The San Diego red makes the cut among the top hardiest bougainvillea varieties.
But, even with unusual properties, it doesn’t mean that variety doesn’t come with its fair share of beauty. The San Diego red grows showy deep, lipstick red blossoms, but, to best enjoy this view, you need to expose them to full sun. The San Diego Red variety grows to about 15 to 30 feet tall.
How Many Bougainvillea Colors Are There?
Bougainvillea varieties come in an extensive range of colors. Generally, there are more than 10 shades of colors that you will find in different types of bougainvilleas. These include different shades of lilac, purple, violet, coral, pink, red, orange, yellow, and cream.
How Do I Choose The Right Bougainvillea for My Needs?
You have to think of the properties you want in your bougainvillea when choosing the right variety. With such an extended list of options, it can sometimes be difficult. The first thing you want to consider is the size, do you want to pot a dwarf variety or trail an extra large variety on your wall – also consider the space you have.
Labeling bougainvillea can sometimes be tricky too – so always read the label for their size in maturity to know their true classification. Next, most bougainvillea varieties survive in hardiness zones 9 to 11. But, geographical locations in the US vary significantly. You should always cross-check if your particular variety of choices can survive where you live.
Some people also choose flowers based on their colors and how they go with their homes. So, you should consider the myriad of color shades that you will find in different types of bougainvilleas.
What Is The Hardiest Bougainvillea?
The Barbra Karst and San Diego red are among the hardiest bougainvillea. The Barbra Karst variety can survive the driest and hottest climate with minimal watering. On the other hand, the San Diego red variety is cold hardy and can handle the cold climate relatively well.
What Is The Smallest Bougainvillea?
The Helen Johnson, Yani’s Delight, pink pixie, and Miss Alice are among the smallest bougainvillea varieties. These dwarf bougainvillea varieties typically grow to between 2 and 4 feet tall and less than 4 feet wide.
What Conditions Should You Avoid Planting Bougainvillea?
Extreme temperature is the biggest enemy of most bougainvillea varieties. So, if you want to keep bougainvillea in a cold climate, you should always keep it as a houseplant. Typically, these plants begin to struggle in temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit and above 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bougainvillea also thrives best in direct and full sunlight. But, you should keep them in shaded areas if you are in an extremely hot climate. Further, bougainvillea love dry and well-drained soils as their roots easily rot in wet soils.
How Do I Care For Bougainvillea?
To get the best blooming interest, here’s how you care for bougainvillea;
– Place bougainvillea in direct sunlight for at least 5 to 6 hours a day (they stretch out with bare limbs in shade).
– Plant them in temperatures that don’t dip below 60 degrees Fahrenheit or exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit (they can easily lose the leaves and flowers in extreme temperatures)
– Water occasionally (they are drought tolerant and overwatering rots the roots). But, increase the frequency slightly during extremely hot seasons. Water them at least once to twice a week if potted.
– Always keep them in well-drained soils to prevent water puddling and root rot
With such a wide variety of bougainvillea types available, the options are endless. This comes as particularly exciting news for bougainvillea lovers. Whether you want ground cover, trailing plants for your garden arbor or a few beautiful blooms for your front porch pots, you will always have a selection from the different types of bougainvillea to pick from.
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